A Simple Sex Test That Could Save Your Life
Sex can be thought of as a barometer of the body. Typical sex drive desire and performance fluctuates for a varying number of reasons that can range from temporary conditions such as lack of energy from work or stress to permanent conditions that are indicators of progressive disease. To monitor your sex barometer, a simple sex test called “The Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX)” allows you to place a number on the level of your sex drive and ability so that you can determine whether you meet a clinical definition of sexual dysfunction and know whether you are in need of professional medical help.
For men, sexual dysfunction is typically defined as the inability to achieve and maintain an erection long and hard enough for a mutually satisfactory sexual intercourse experience for both parties involved. For women, the definition of sexual dysfunction is typically a little more complicated and encompasses four types of disorders:
• Desire disorders—a lack or loss of desire for sex
• Arousal disorders —a lack or loss of a sexual response or inability to maintain arousal
• Orgasmic disorders —an inability to have a pain-free and pleasurable orgasm
• Sexual pain disorders—pain during or after sex.
For both men and women, however, there can be a significant amount of gray area where a decline in sexual performance and desire occurs at such a gradual pace that it is difficult to recognize if and when a person is really sexually dysfunctional or just going through a temporary setback due to illness, lack of energy or stress, or normal aging. Part of this also due to denial on the part of the individual that “something” may be wrong downstairs. On a more positive note, however, up to 70% of couples have a problem with sex at some time in their relationships that in many cases resolves itself.
To determine whether or not you may be sexually dysfunctional, researchers from the University of Arizona have devised a simple sexual experiences scale in which you can put a number value on a scale of 1 to 6 ranging from “extremely strong or easily“ to “non-existent” in response to a short list of 6 sex-related questions. Individual question scores and/or a score total are then used to indicate whether or not you may be sexually dysfunctional and in need of medical help.
The questions asked are:
1. How strong is your sex drive?
2. How easily are you sexually aroused (turned on)?
3. [For Women] How easily does your vagina become moist or wet during sex?
4. [For Men] Can you easily get and keep and erection?
5. How easily can you reach an orgasm?
6. Are your orgasms satisfying?
A person is considered to have sexual dysfunction if they have either a total score of 19 or higher; a score of 5 or higher on one question; or a score of 4 or higher on 3 of the questions.
The significance of this test is that not only does it help individuals who are unsure of their sex status so that they can deal with an important quality of life issue, but also that this test could actually save a person’s life by alerting them and their physician to a medical condition/disease that may be progressing unnoticed.
For both men and women, excessive alcohol abuse (current or past), diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, depression and mental illness, and a large variety of medications can result in a depressed libido and inability to perform satisfactorily during sex. Older women are particularly susceptible to vaginal dryness and pain during sex due to a decrease in estrogen, whereas older men may likewise suffer from decreased levels of male sex hormones that can interfere with having an erection.
By knowing where you rate on the ASEX scale you can determine whether or not you may be experiencing sexual dysfunction. If the test indicates that you are sexually dysfunctional, then seeking immediate help and a diagnosis of cause by your physician can help you attain the appropriate medical steps and treatment as soon as possible toward a longer and healthier life both physically and emotionally.
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Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale
“The Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX): Reliability and Validity” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 26:25–40 (2000); Cynthia A. McGahuey et al.