Now That Youre Out: The Challenges and Joys of Living as a Gay Man

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You are both keeping score about who did what when.

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Your sex life with one another has ceased to exist. You walk on eggshells around your spouse to avoid conflict. The two of you have stopped having dates or time alone together. You feel trapped, crippled, or stifled. You feel disconnected from one another. The trust in your marriage has deteriorated to the point where you are considering spying on your spouse.

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Most people just know in their hearts when it is time to move on. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign Up. But even after this serious problem has developed, a supportive marriage is associated with improved survival. The well-established links between stress, depression, social isolation, and heart disease make it easy to see how a good marriage might protect the heart.

But cancer is a different matter. Indeed, there is little evidence that marriage reduces the overall risk of getting cancer.

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Still, marriage can influence the outcome. For example, a study of 27, cancer cases found that unmarried individuals were more likely to have advanced disease at the time of diagnosis than married persons. Unmarried patients were less likely to receive treatment than married patients — but even among people who received cancer therapy, marriage was linked to improved survival.

Patients who have intact marriages when cancer is diagnosed have better survival than patients who are separated at the time of diagnosis. Prostate cancer is a particular concern for men. To find out how marriage affects survival, scientists from the University of Miami investigated , men with the disease.


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Over a year period, married men survived far longer median 69 months than separated and widowed patients 38 months ; men who had never married had an intermediate survival rate 49 months. And researchers from Harvard and UCLA have identified similar survival benefits for married patients with bladder cancer, a predominantly male disease. Although the data are sparse, marriage appears to have a positive effect on a variety of health outcomes. Mental health is the most prominent; married men have a lower risk of depression and a higher likelihood of satisfaction with life in retirement than their unmarried peers.

Being married has also been linked to better cognitive function, a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, improved blood sugar levels, and better outcomes for hospitalized patients.

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In contrast, widowhood boosts the likelihood of sexually transmitted diseases in men, but not women. It's often said that old married couples come to resemble each other. That may or may not be true, but according to Italian researchers, married couples do have similar cardiac risk factors.

In their report, the scientists reviewed 71 earlier studies that covered more than , couples. All in all, the spouses demonstrated many shared risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, and smoking. Some of the similarities can be explained by the tendency for people to choose spouses like themselves, and some of the shared risk factors depend on lifestyle habits partners have in common. That's why Australian doctors have reported success with a program that seeks to improve nutrition and exercise habits in both spouses simultaneously. That's couples therapy with a new twist.

Because women live longer than men, women are far more likely to lose a spouse than are men. But spousal bereavement is actually more serious for men, and a study from California tells just how serious it is. The study did not measure the psychological and socioeconomic burdens of bereavement.

I Live With a Woman—We're Not Immune to Emotional Labor

Instead, the researchers focused on another impact of spousal bereavement, the mortality of the surviving spouse. The study tracked 12, married people over a to year period. During that time, 1, men and 3, women lost their spouses. Healthy men who lost a wife were 2.

The risk was greatest from seven to 12 months after the loss, but an elevated death rate persisted for more than two years. Shakespeare was right when he wrote of "deadly grief. Research from around the world confirms that the death of a spouse increases the likelihood of illness and disability in the surviving spouse, and that men are more vulnerable than women. One reason that widowers fare so poorly is that nutrition and other health habits deteriorate when men are on their own; even a wife's hospitalization is hazardous to her husband's health.

Another factor is social isolation. And a study of 1, men in the Boston area linked the death of a spouse to a decline in testosterone levels comparable to the drop that occurs during 10 years of aging. Halting of the function or replication of a virus. Research conducted in Australia, Europe and the United States has shown that the menopause can affect sexual function in middle-aged HIV-positive women, and that sexual problems including pain, vaginal dryness and lack of desire and satisfaction are common.


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Aware that an increasing number of HIV-positive women are menopausal, a team of investigators led by Nasreen Toorabally at University College London, designed a study comparing levels of sexual satisfaction and prevalence of sexual problems between middle-aged women with and without HIV. All participants included in the study HIV negative; HIV positive were sexually active and were asked the same questions about sexual function and experience of sexual problems.

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There were significant differences between the HIV-positive and -negative groups. The HIV-positive participants were slightly younger 49 vs 51 years. Among women with HIV, being diagnosed for 20 or more years was associated with low sexual satisfaction. There was no association with current or nadir CD4 cell count or viral suppression.