Weekly Newsletter

How to protect your sexual health

Sex is rarely simple. Here’s what to know about how birth control pills can lower sex drive, why you shouldn’t have sex with a yeast infection and when abstaining from masturbation can harm mental and physical health. Plus, the latest healthcare news about STIs, Viagra and senior Covid-19 deaths.
A beautiful young Black couple smile with their cheeks touching as they stand before pink cherry blossom trees.

With Valentine's Day on the horizon, we’re feeling saucy.

So this week, we share updates on how birth control pills can lower libido, how sex can mess with a yeast infection (and vice versa) and when abstaining from self-pleasuring can become dangerous. Then we close with the latest health news on vending machines + STIs, Viagra + dementia risk and seniors + Covid deaths.

But first, grab a handful of conversation hearts and scroll your love-ly self down into…

  • The Checkup: sex, love and everything
  • You Sexy Thang! staying safe + sexy
  • Healthcare: STIs + Viagra + seniors

The Checkup

When birth control pills lower sex drive

A long photo taken above of a white man and woman in warm stylish clothes holding hands and running on the road in a city.

As reported in the New York Times, 15% of participants across 35 studies noted a drop in desire within a few weeks—or years—of taking birth control pills.

One study found that sexual function wasn’t particularly affected. But desire, arousal and pleasure were. Experts suspect this happens because the pill suppresses testosterone (or inactivates it)—and that can lower libido, alter vaginal tissue (making sex painful) and encourage vaginal dryness. Also, some of us just need more free testosterone to kick our hormone receptors into drive.

The good news? Once off the pill, sex drive returns almost immediately. So if you’re struggling, a different pill or another form of contraception may help. If you need a little guidance…

Start a $15 online birth control consultation.

Can you have sex with a yeast infection?!

Overhead photo of the legs of a couple lying on their bed wearing pants and sicks, with a fluffy brown labradoodle dog between them.

The itchy truth? You can have sex while you have a yeast infection. But you probably don’t wanna.

First off, sex can disrupt the vagina’s bacterial balance + cause a yeast infection. (Or slow one from healing.) Then, about 15% of penises develop an itchy rash after they’ve been inside an infected vagina. (Yes, we’re getting direct, here.) Yeast infections cause vaginas to swell, so they’re more likely to tear during sex—increasing STI risk. Finally, some treatments weaken condoms, which also increases STI risk. To learn more about sex + yeast infections, head to this Dr. B article. Wanna know more about treatment options?

Explore our $15 yeast infection care.

When not masturbating turns dangerous

A young white man stretched out on a couch in a modern apartment dusted in dim afternoon light, looking up at a screen.

According to online NoFap coaches, support groups + programs, not masturbating for a long period reboots the brain, boosts testosterone, cures erectile dysfunction + magnifies sexual allure. According to health experts, none of those claims are true.

Instead, studies show that extreme anti-masturbation practices increase depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts + sexual dysfunction. Sociologists point out that these manosphere spin-off groups often encourage extremist, hate group beliefs. And one 2022 study found that while semen retention was one of the most popular men’s health topics on Instagram + TikTok, no posts were promoted by a single health expert.

Learn more at NPR.

Healthcare 411

Can vending machines help curb STDs? (US News). A study on vending machines selling STI tests confirms their purpose. Of 2,500 machine “interactions,” about 6% of tests were positive for chlamydia + 2.5% positive for gonorrhea. Users were mostly young, male + heterosexual. About 60% had not done an STI test in the last year or never done one. Easy access + privacy were two reasons why they chose the machines.

Thousands of seniors are still dying of Covid-19. Do we not care anymore? (CNN). Older adults make up 75% of Covid deaths, totaling around 900,000. Almost 5,000 seniors died in the three weeks between 2023 + 2024. Ageism + isolation contribute to the lack of masking, on-site vaccination programs + treatment protocols at senior centers, contributing to the deaths. No matter where you are (or your age), Dr. B can help eligible patients get same-day Covid-19 antiviral treatment online.

Men on Viagra may reduce their Alzheimer's risk (BBC). In a new study, men taking Viagra were 18% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s within the five-year study period. Not confirming Viagra as the cause, the findings encourage further research exploring if the drugs therapeutically affect neurons linked to memory, increase blood flow to the brain + more.

Sign up for the free Dr. B newsletter for a weekly report on the latest in healthcare + research-based advice for staying healthy and mentally well.