Be appy, help with your sex life is now just a click away
A new app is offering advice on sexual health problems
Sexual health problems will affect around half of men and women in the UK, but only about a quarter of those will seek help, which is why the Sexual Advice Association has just launched the Smart SAA app.
"We aren't good at talking about sex," says Mike Kirby, SAA trustee and professor of men's health at the University of Hertfordshire.
"Most people are very comfortable using apps in their day-to-day lives and the Smart SAA app provides an option for people to get expert advice in addressing any concerns, in their own time and in complete privacy."
Developed with the advice of experts ranging from academics and cardiologists, to therapists and urologists, the iPhone and Android app covers the most common sexual problems, which for women are: loss of desire, lack of arousal, problems with orgasm and sexual discomfort.
For men, it's erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and sex drive, but the questionnaires (based on internationally recognised surveys) can be answered on behalf of a partner as well and so far 16% of users are using the app in this way.
The simple, easy-to-use interface delivers concise, but detailed information and advice grouped under lifestyle, interpersonal and health headings.
"It's not designed to replace a health professional," Kirby explains, "but it gives people a first step towards asking the questions they might have about sexual problems.
"These symptoms can be an indicator of underlying health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, which is why it's important they don't go unchecked.
"It also helps prepare people for a consultation by giving them guidance on the right kinds of questions to ask, as well as lifestyle tips they can try immediately."
And because the Smart SAA app is completely anonymous and PIN-protected, it's appealing to people who may be uncomfortable seeking advice from their doctor or even their own partner.
"Some people are just interested to see if they're okay compared to everyone else," says Kirby.
"Ultimately, it may help reassure them that nothing is wrong, but it can also help them to feel more confident about taking the step to speak to a professional."