Sexual Health and Corporate Life
It is a well-known fact that there is a decline in the reproductive health in India. The mushrooming fertility clinics and long queues in those clinics are proof enough that reproductive health of Indian men and women is on the downward spiral. Though there are several social, behavioural, cultural, smoking and other habits play a significant role in this trend, let us see how the new corporate culture plays a significant role in this untoward trend.
In general, the following are cited as reasons for reduction in sexual and reproductive health
- Those who are doing sitting or standing jobs for long hours
- Consumption of alcohol and smoking habits
- Infections like tuberculosis
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) (which is rated as the number one cause of infertility among women)
- Stress levels
- Unhealthy dietary habits
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Exposure to environmental contaminants
- Physical problems
- Psychological issues
Before moving further, let us see
What is sexual health?
Sexual health can be defined as “A state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.” – source www. investopedia.com
What is reproductive health?
It may be defined as “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of reproductive disease or infirmity. Reproductive health deals with the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life.” – source www. investopedia.com
In addition to the common reasons for falling reproductive health among men and women in India, corporate culture is emerging as the major contributor to this worrying trend. Because of unprecedented competition and huge financial commitment, corporate companies have created a highly target-driven work culture which leads to lot of stress. It is also alleged that corporate culture severely affects the work-life balance of many of its employees leading to stressful life and health ailments due to long working hours and irregular sleep cycle.
Who can be termed as corporates?
Let us see the companies that can be termed as corporates are. The following are some of the companies that can be termed as corporates.
- IT companies
- ITES Companies
- Multinational Companies
- Large Financial Institutions
- Banking Companies
- Large Media Houses
- Large Scale Manufacturing Organisations
The above corporates give employment to thousands of people with operations in many locations across the country and in few other countries. As corporates have made huge financial investments and had to face competitions from several local and multinational players in many regions, they have rigorous policies and stringent targets to ensure productivity and profitability are achieved. This impacts the lifestyle of its employees to a greater extent leading to several health issues including declining sexual and reproductive health.
It should be noted that corporate culture is not only created by management or senior employees of an organization, but it is also influenced by national cultures and traditions, prevailing economic trends, changes in international trade policies, company size, competition, products and growth objectives.
The aim of this article is not to ridicule corporate culture nor to make people leave corporate jobs. But to create awareness about the prevailing cultures that can potentially harm sexual and reproductive health of its employees.
What are the major health issues that are identified with corporate culture?
Work related stress is growing into a major health epidemic with serious long term and short term consequences on the overall health of all concerned.
Let us see some of the major health issues with corporate culture
- Sexual health
- Reproductive health
- Sleep disorder
- Chronic back pain
- Gastrointestinal disorders etc.,
What are the two categories of workplace stress?
Workplace stressors can be broadly classified into two factors
Physical Stressors include noise, poor lighting, poor office environment, work area layout, bad seating arrangement that force bad sitting postures, hot and corrosive environment etc., This affects very little and change of job or change of environment can help the employee come out of it. This can have short term health impact only.
Psychological Stressors include high job demand, long and inflexible working hours, poor job control, bullying, abuse, harassments, job insecurity, poor wages. This is the most predominant stress factor that will have long term health impact. The impact of stress on cardiovascular health is also well established. This also comes with a cardiovascular risks such as heart attack and stroke.
How stress affects sexual and reproductive health?
There is a growing evidence that work related stress affects the sexual and reproductive health of both men and women. Please bear in mind that stress is identified to attack sex life on many levels, one of the biggest impact happens via hormones.
According to sexologists, stress produces a hormone called cortisol, which will affect the nervous system leading to reduction in libido. Being in stress consistently leads to production of overdose of Cortisol leading to consistent deterioration of sexual health.
Stress has the potential to affect men and women physically, emotionally and sexually. It can also affect the ability to handle relationships effectively.
For women, stress can throw their menstrual cycle out of regular occurrence leading to loss in sexual interest and affecting the reproductive health considerably. Stress is known to prevent women from experiencing orgasm and can prevent a woman from experiencing an orgasm at all, irrespective of the attractive of the partner or intensity of the encounter.
According to leading sexologist, Narayana Reddy, “Brain is your biggest sex organ and when your mind is clouded and distracted by stress, it is going to be harder to focus on your arousal and pleasurable sensation, which can affect your ability to orgasm. When you don’t feel pleasure during sex, then you are certainly not going to enjoy orgasm, as simple as that”
He further adds, “Stress can also impact your sex life indirectly. The hormones produced when an individual is stressed can impact his or her metabolism, which in turn can affect the sperm or egg quality. When you are distracted or don’t feel good about yourself during your sexual activity, you are less likely to have the drive to indulge in sexual activity again”.
Chronic stress also has proven to lead to depression and anxiety, which can affect your healthy sex life. When someone says that they are not in the mood to have sex that means they are either stressed or battling some physical problems. And those who are habituated to drinking more when they are stressed can have reduced libido and it has proven to affect the secretion of vaginal lubrication.
Who are the most affected in corporate culture?
Though it cannot be specified and guaranteed that people at such levels are affected because handling stress can vary from person to person, we are highlighting the following are prone to experience reduction in sexual and reproductive health based on survey results.
Stress levels vary between professions and population groups. Some workers are at a higher risk of stress than others. Studies reveal that younger workers, women, and those in lower-skilled jobs are at most risk of experiencing work-related stress and its attendant complications. Casual full-time workers, who are likely to have the lowest job control and high job demands are most at risk of job strain.
Typically, the following are identified as most vulnerable to experience high work-related stress.
Privileged Class – Those who occupy top positions like CEOs, Branch Heads, Country Manager etc., who have many privileges interms of perks and allowances, but those are the people who undergo tremendous work pressure.
Surplus Money / perks – Those who have high disposable income and surplus money too are vulnerable as they spend their money in unhealthy things leading to deterioration of health and family relations.
High Purchasing Capacity – Those with high purchasing capacity are also identified as the vulnerable people.
Globe Trotters – These are the people who are frequent flyers and travel a lot. These people will occupy key posts in organisations or business. These people are identified to undergo severe stress due to tight tour schedules requiring to eat and sleep at odd hours, manage jet-lag etc., These people are identified to have reduced sexual and reproductive health due to high stress.
Overseas Posting – Those who are posted in foreign countries are also identified as vulnerable for stress related problems. They find it difficult to cope with work pressure and other factors like cultural differences, changing food habits, work schedule, and need to deal with overseas employees etc., which result in high stress leading to deterioration of sexual and reproductive health.
It is to be noted that people with less stressful jobs are most likely to have good sexual and reproductive health unless they lead a stress-free life.
What leads to fall in sexual health?
The following are identified as common reasons for declining sexual health.
Prolonged working hours – This leads to fatigue and kills the happiness. Long working hours is identified as the most important reason for falling sexual and reproductive health.
Highly demanding skilled work – This requires high focus and focusing too many hours on one thing is not good for health. People such as surgeons, glass cutters, sculptors, watch mechanics, CNC machine operators, people in glass making, cooking etc.,
Demanding targets and deadlines – When the mind is clogged with targets and tight deadlines, it becomes too stressed and loses focus on common things. People who work in such situations are more likely to have diminished sexual health
Frequent travel – Those are in delivery job or others requiring frequent travel are likely to dent their sexual health
Job Insecurity – Those people who are working in insecured jobs are known to lead a stressful life. The feeling that they might lose the job puts them under severe stress which affects their sexual health to a great extent.
Untimely working hours – Those employees who need to work in odd hours or night shifts such as those working in airports, hospitals, police, factory workers etc., are identified as vulnerable for work related stress leading to decline in sexual health.
Altered life styles – When you change your lifestyle drastically and your dietary and physical habits change drastically in a short period, then you are likely to get affected physically leading to decline in sexual health.
What are the sexual dysfunctions that result because of stress?
Let us see the sexual dysfunctions among male and female.
Lack of sexual drive - These men will not have any sexual drive even when they happen to be with attractive women
Erectile dysfunction – These men will have difficulty in getting and/or maintaining an erection for a minimum required time.
Premature ejaculation – These men cannot hold on to their semen and pour them out much earlier than the anticipated time, much to their partner’s dissatisfaction.
Retarded ejaculation – These men will take an extended period of sexual stimulation to release semen. Some men with retarded ejaculation may not even ejaculate at all.
Dyspareunia – It is a condition in which men with dyspareunia will have persistent or recurrent pain during sexual intercourse which will make them become averse to sexual intercourse. The causes can be both physical or psychological.
Lack of sexual drive - These women will not have any sexual drive even when they happen to be sexually stimulating situations or with a partner with great sexual drive. This will also affect her partner.
Orgasmic dysfunction – These women will have difficulty in experiencing orgasm irrespective of consistent stimulation for an extended period.
Vaginismus – It is an involuntary tensing of the vaginal muscles, which can make intercourse painful and thus averse to sex.
Dyspareunia – It is a condition in which women will have persistent or recurrent pain during sexual intercourse. The causes can be both physical and / or psychological.
The following are some of the sexual problems that men and women face because of stress. Sexual issue is one of the major problems for many of the divorce cases and it is the central issue of marital discard.
Some of the ill effects of sexual problems include
- Unconsummated marriage
- Marital disharmony
- Extra marital affairs
- Techno addictions (to Pornography, web chatting with or without web camera)
- Disturbed Sex Rhythm
– No Sex at all for an extended period
– No sex during ovulatory period
– Infrequent Sex
Disturbed sex rhythm is one problem that will affect both men and women. When your partner has sexual issues, then you both may not have sex or don’t have sex during the ovulation days, which are known to be the most fertile day for conceiving. Because of no sex during ovulation days, a woman’s ability to reproduce may get affected. Further because of lack of sexual drive and diminished sexual health, the occurrence of sex may become highly infrequent. When partners have poor sexual compatibility, then it may lead to divorce or marital disharmony. Stress will be the root cause of this problem.
The reproductive problems are more profound among men and women in India due to various reasons, with work related stress being the central one. There are other reasons such as lifestyle issues, unhealthy food, chemicals in the environment, smoking, drinking, drugs and other harmful habits that can ruin the reproductive health.
The following are identified as the possible reproductive problems women may face when stress begins to impact her sexual life.
- Menstrual Disorders
- Pregnancy postponement
- Effects of computer (Electromagnetic Waves) on Pregnancy.
- High incidence of congenital abnormalities in children
- Increased incidence of giving birth to underweight babies
- Increased incidence of abortions
- Premature deliveries
Whereas for men, it is always altered seminar parameters. The semen may not be sufficient enough to impregnate his partner.
Stress Management Strategies
Having identified that stress plays a major role in affecting the sexual and reproductive health of men and women in India, let us see some of the effective and recommended stress management strategies to overcome this issue.
Our stress management solution is divided into two major categories
- At the corporate level
- At the personal level
Corporate Level Solutions
Though corporates are concerned about the health of its employees and offering several allowances, medical benefits to help them remain healthy, the following are recommended to be implemented at the corporate level to allow its employees to lead a stress-free life.
- Flexible working hours
- Work from home options (wherever possible)
- Appoint a psychologist in the unit to counsel stressed employees
- Set up a recreation facility and / or gym within the working place for employees to relax
- Offer special leave for contingencies
- Allocate the work in such a way that work load is divided uniformly across the team
- Monitor employees burnout and ensure stringent work hours
Individual Level Solutions
More than the work pressure, individuals have become workaholic and love to spend time before their laptop and overwork. Many men and women have become so obsessed with work that they began to believe that over work is the way to achieve success in life.
The Big Dilemma
- Mouse or Spouse
- Board room or Bed room
This is the big dilemma that affects many men and women in the corporates. They spend more time with the mouse than their spouse and for many men board room obsession is much more than their own bedroom.
This is a worrying trend. They need to have a perfect work-life balance to cope with stress. In search of identity, recognition, success, achievement, position, wealth and power, men and women have lost their balance and are losing their sexual and reproductive health, which is much more precious compared to others.
The loss of balance is not due to scarcity but due to surplus, not from oppression but from options, not from absence but from abundance.
Life Balance Is the art of balancing such finite things as our time, our energy, and our thought among the seemingly infinite needs of our work, our families, and our personal interests and obligations.
- Linda & Richard Eyre
Guidelines for Coping with Stress for Corporate Professionals
Time management – An effective time management can prevent working long hours
Relaxation Techniques – Learning to relax is key to achieving productivity
Yoga – It is the best and proven way to fight stress
Physical exercise / gym – Involving in a regular physical activity or doing working in a gym can help in fighting stress better.
Balanced diet – A healthy diet is vital for your mind and body to function well.
Frequent rest to the eyes – Your eyes need rest. Thus it is important to relax atleast few minutes between every one hour
Don’t postpone pregnancies – Pregnancy is a biological action, postponing it for promotions or for other reasons can have serious medical complications or lead to stress. Thus, never postpone pregnancy.
Seek medical help – When you find it difficult to cope with stress, immediately take medical help.
Remember, HEALTHY BODY and HEALTHY MIND are required to lead a fulfilling life.
Indulge in Sex – Yes, you are reading it right. Indulging in quality and active sex has proven to reduce stress. Now, there are countless condom variants such as dotted, ribbed, textured, delay etc., which are created not only to offer protection but also allow couples to enjoy enhanced quality of sex.
Single men can indulge in masturbation tools that can ensure quality experience.
For single women, there are countless vibrators which are proven to help women relieve stress.
Vibrators can also be used by couples for thorough sexual enjoyment.
There are BDSM tools which can allow men and women experience multiple pleasure layers in sex, the kind of which is not possible during normal lovemaking. BDSM tools have also proven to strengthen the bond between couples. A strong and healthy relationship is one of the important aspects of leading a stress-free life.
To have a healthy body, an individual needs
- Nutritious food
- Physical exercise
- Good rest
To have a healthy body, an individual needs
- Physical exercise
- Pleasurable mental diversions.
– Satisfying sex
– Stress-free activities
– Enjoying the work or profession
– Doing something different
– Developing & Pursuing a hobby
- Time management
How to achieve the balance? What to do to improve the quality of life?
One needs to balance three aspects of life to lead a quality life.
PRIORITY - Balance between family, career and personal growth
ATTITUDE- The balance between Structure and Spontaneity
GOAL - Balance between Achievements & Relationships, balance between people & things
If you are in a corporate company, only one thing you should remember. You should
NOT LIVE TO WORK, BUT WORK TO LIVE!
The Importance of Sex in Life
Sex is an essential part of human life and without sex, life becomes tasteless. We would have come across young men and women saying ‘I am not very sexual and I don’t like sex’. Some would even go to an extent saying, “Sex is not everything in life for me. I can lead a life without a partner”. These are words told from the tip of the tongue and it is not true either.
If someone carries such assumptions deep down, they need to realize that they are having a radically different notions about sex. It is because they are fed with the idea that ‘sex is bad’ and it is sin to indulge in sex. This is the very concept that started and spread by Evangelical institutions across the world which insisted on ‘purity’ and termed those indulged in sex as being ‘impure’.
But sex is very important to every human being. While in a relationship, sex is an essential component to experience deep intimacy and it is something that adds to the compatibility. More than emotional and intelligence compatibility, it is the sexual compatibility that actually binds couples and helps them stay together in the long run.
According to psychiatrists, sexual compatibility is the number one reason behind scores of divorces filed in courts across the world. It makes life miserable when you don’t get sufficient sex with your partner, with whom you have a legal binding to have sex whenever and however way you want to.
Human body is a memory bank. The thing that we don’t use, gets lost. When you don’t use your sexual energy, it gets dissipated and you will lose your inner happiness. The happiness that blossoms from within may not be there when you don’t have sufficient amount of sex. When you don’t have sex, there can be some effect in your psychological self and it affects your confidence. Sex has a direct connection with your self-esteem and when you don’t have sex there is greater chance for your self-esteem to get affected.
Lack of sex not only affects your body, but your mind too. Insecurity creeps in and such men or women find it difficult to interact with opposite sex.
Men and women who are addicted to porn or use of sexual toys may argue that relationship is not important for them and they know how to satiate sexual cravings. They are completely wrong. The feeling that comes due to skin to skin intimacy is totally different and are no match to sensations received with the use of a sex toy. The dynamics of flirting, building rapport, building trust and communicating effectively with the opposite sex are rooted in one point that is the desire to have sex. It allow men and women to sell themselves confidently.
Similar to food, drink and sleep, sex too is an important part of life and not having sufficient sex can make someone suffer and the effect will be obvious in their behavior and confidence level. Such men and women will have less energy and their eyes will not have any power. And their focus will suffer and their efficiency levels too will take a dip.
Masturbation is different and indulging in actual sex with a partner is completely different. The feeling that one gets due to skin-to-skin contact is completely different and sex toys are a not match when it comes to psychological advantage one gets due to intimate sex which involves continuous and intimate touch. Having sex with another human being brings the beauty of touch and it would create a different chemistry in the body which is beneficial for the body in many ways. And the kind of feeling one feels during real sex with human touch is really different.
According to experts men who don’t have regular sex are likely to develop erectile problems and they may not be able to achieve full erection that they used to have during their regular sexual days. This also applies to women who are deprived of sufficient amount of regular sex.
There is a saying “What you don’t use, you lose.” This is particularly true when it comes to sex. When you don’t use your sex hormones, then it loses gradually. It shows up in the body and the way individual functions. Though it happens slowly, even dead slowly. But it is noticeable until it is too late. It is like a fog creeping over the town slowly and slowly the fogs can become so dense and dark that the effects of psychological impact becomes visible.
This has nothing to do with how much one earns, whether he or she has blue eyes, shapely body, beautiful features, social recognition. The effects are similar as it is related to physical and psychological aspects of life.
Whatever may be your social status or financial status, it is important for men and women to enjoy regular and satisfying sex life as it is as important as food and sleep for the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of men and women.
Needless to say Endorphins (called happy hormones) are released during sex, which can alleviate all kinds of pain in the body including migraines, cramps, arthritis, discomforts due to PMS etc., Lack of sex comes with a heavy price tag. It reduces testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in women which can lead to loss of beauty and health complications in the future.
It is not difficult to find a partner for sex, if one shuns ego and other unwanted emotional baggage. Men and women who are honest, straight forward and are confident about their personality can always find a right partner to lead a healthy sex life. Men and women who are deprived of regular sex has to make sincere efforts to quickly find someone to enjoy regular and healthy sex life.
This just involves right thinking and right approach to life. We are all gifted with wonderful life and we are here to make the most of it by having positive approach to life and work.
Enjoy healthy sex life and lead a comfortable life.