To support[1. Sponsored blog from Pfizer] Men’s Health Week 2011, Man MOT is running two special surgeries with guest host, sex and relationship expert Tracey Cox, this evening, Thursday 16th June. Men can talk in complete confidence to Tracey about any health or sexual confidence issues they may have.

Ape to Gentleman caught up with her before hand to ask her some of our readers more common questions:

What are the best ways for men to deal with a waning libido?
Popular opinion has the wife in rollers turning to face the wall. But it’s not uncommon for men to want to stop having sex. Desire is affected by lots of things: an unhealthy lifestyle, not fancying our partner, stress, problems in the relationship, money worries, parenting and use of anti-depressants. We’re not robots and sexual desire isn’t constant. The longer you’re in a relationship, the less likely it will be that desire taps you on the shoulder. You have to create it. Do this by getting as physically healthy as possible, reducing stress, not over-reacting to any erection problems and keeping your sex life fresh and varied. The better and more exciting sex is, the more you’ll want it. (This sounds obvious but if the only sex you’re getting is routine and boring, why would you want to make the effort?) If you’re finding yourself turning to internet porn more and more on the occasions where you are aroused, cut back. There’s nothing wrong with the odd masturbatory session with porn, just make sure it doesn’t ‘take the edge off’ to the point where ‘real sex’ seems far too much effort.

Given the almost constant flow of bad ‘celebrity’ relationship press of late, gents can be forgiven for feeling insecure in their relationships. What is the best thing to do if you suspect your partner is having an affair?
The constant and seemingly never-ending reports of all the celebrities cheating on their partners has made a lot of people nervous. It would be easier to list who isn’t having an affair, than who is! This sends a dangerous message to society: that affairs are so commonplace, it’s now acceptable to have one. But we need to remember that celebrities are different than the public. They travel a lot, so have more opportunity. They’re hit on about a million times more often than the average person, so temptation is high. Crucially, they’re told they’re ‘special’, so tend to think the normal ‘rules’ don’t apply to them. So it’s wrong to compare.

What do you do if you think your partner is cheating? The key things to watch out for is change. Has your partner changed their appearance, habits, hobbies, work habits or suddenly taken up a new sport? Do they seem to have new views that could be someone else’s? Do they keep their phones close and suddenly have passwords when before they didn’t? Are they suddenly secretive about their emails? Most people are aware infidelity is commonly discovered through technology and are especially protective over phones and laptops during an affair.

Erectile dysfunction is commonly seen as a direct hit to your ‘man-0-meter’. What key advice do you have for men suffering from this issue, particularly from a young age?
Most cases of ED or impotence occur because the man freaks out about not getting an erection and is so anxious the next time around, it happens again. (Penises are often way more sensitive than the man attached to them.) If it happens a third time, a pattern sets in.
ED tends to hit men post 40 but it’s not uncommon in younger guys. A lot of the time, the solution is to avoid focusing on his erection, shift to giving her pleasure and once his confidence grows, the problem usually solves itself. Having sex late at night with a belly full of food and alcohol can also affect erections; sex in the morning nearly always produces a harder penis.
The first thing to do if you’re going through a period of ED is check if you can get an early morning erection or achieve one with masturbation. If you can’t, see your GP for a full check-up and ask for a referral to a urologist. If you’re able to get erections, just not with a partner, it’s likely your ED isn’t caused through physical problems. The answer then is usually to stop worrying about it by having sex without penetration and use your hands and tongue to pleasure her instead.

Is a successful long term relationship possible if you don’t enjoy the sexual side from early on in the relationship?
If you’re not wanting to rip each other’s clothes off at the start, it’s unlikely you’re going to want to rip them off ten years in. Good sexual chemistry is the ingredient that gets you through the rough bits. Having said that, most couples find sex gets better as time goes on. You discover each other’s hot spots and triggers, trust each other more and learn to ‘let go. If you’ve got good communication with your partner and tons of love, most sex problems can be solved. If you simply don’t fancy them, the prognosis isn’t so good.

Finally, what would you tell any man who is sceptical about discussing health issues online?
Online clinics like the one I host on a regular basis ( runs from 6-10pm Monday nights), offers free, anonymous, expert and non-judgemental advice for any health, relationship or sexual problem. It’s hugely popular – namely because there’s no face-to-face contact, so zero embarrassment. There’s also no time limit for chatting, unlike with a GP. Obviously, in some cases, it’s necessary to visit a GP if the problem needs a visual diagnosis. But most of the guys who visit the clinic are pretty good at describing their problems and/or symptoms and as much as it’s advisable to visit a GP for confirmation, end up with a pretty good idea of what to do next. It’s particularly effective for sex or relationship problems that men may find difficult to admit to a partner, friends or a GP. A lot of the time I’m simply reassuring men that what they’re feeling, doing or experiencing is normal.

Note: All responses are those of Tracey Cox and not representative of Pfizer. Tracy Cox’s involvement in this Men’s Health initiative is funded by Pfizer.

Man MOT GPs can talk to you about any health problem, suggest the best course of action to take, and direct you to appropriate health services if necessary. However, as they do not have access to your medical records and are not able to perform a clinical examination, they cannot give individualised medical advice or offer a specific medical diagnosis.