How can I become more comfortable discussing sexual problems with my healthcare provider?

For lots of people – including doctors and patients – sex is an awkward subject.

The topic of sexuality doesn’t always come up in the doctor’s office, even when it’s impacted by health conditions and treatments. Both patients and healthcare providers may feel uncomfortable addressing sexual issues, or some might think that sex-related questions aren’t important.

Some patients feel so embarrassed by their sexual problem that they stay silent. Or they turn to friends, family, and the internet for answers. And while there are reliable sources out there, it can be difficult to vet which ones are best. Friends and relatives may have good intentions, but if they are not medical professionals, their opinions and experiences might not apply to your situation.

It’s important for patients to ask their sex-related questions. The following slides may help you feel more comfortable about doing so.

For most of us, being sexual is part of our biology. It’s intimate and personal, but it’s part of what makes us human. By taking care of your sexual health, you are taking care of your overall well-being.

Remember, too, that sex is a natural part of life no matter who you are – young or old, cisgender or transgender, healthy or ill. Some people feel like they shouldn’t be thinking about sex, but it is perfectly normal to do so. Your questions and concerns are valid.

Your Doctor is There for You

Your doctor is a professional. Even if their specialty isn’t sexual medicine, they should still be able to help. If you need to, feel free to ask for a referral to another type of specialist, like a urologist or sex therapist. (For tips on seeing a sexual medicine provider for the first time, click here.)

Having the Conversation

Here are some tips for having the discussion:

Resources

InRealLife.org.au

“Talking about sexual health with your doctor doesn’t have to be awkward”

(October 7, 2017)

https://www.inreallife.org.au/body/talking-about-sexual-health-with-your-doctor-doesnt-have-to-be-awkward/

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Reese, Jennifer Barsky, PhD, et al.

“Understanding Sexual Help-Seeking for Women With Breast Cancer: What Distinguishes Women Who Seek Help From Those Who Do Not?”

(Full-text. Published: July 12, 2020)

https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(20)30678-0/fulltext#%20

National Institute on Aging

“How to Talk with Your Doctor About Sensitive Issues”

(Content reviewed: February 3, 2020)

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-talk-your-doctor-about-sensitive-issues

SexualBeing.org 

Kohn, Isabelle

“How to Talk to Your Doctor About Sex”

(January 16, 2019)

https://sexualbeing.org/blog/how-to-talk-to-your-doctor-about-sex/

You Might Also Enjoy...

Understanding Male Menopause

Menopause is a process that every woman experiences with age, but did you know hormonal imbalance (and its symptoms) aren’t just a women’s health issue? Male menopause is triggered by low testosterone, and it can impact your life in a number of ways.

How the O-Shot® Can Improve Your Sex Life

Low sex drive. Painful intercourse. Inability to orgasm. Sound familiar? You could be suffering from sexual dysfunction. It’s a real condition, and it’s treatable. Find out how the O-Shot® — a platelet-rich plasma therapy — could help you.

My Hormones Are Out of Balance

Hormones are important chemical messengers in your body. When they’re out of balance, you could experience a range of unpleasant symptoms. Learn the signs of hormone imbalance and what you can do to relieve your symptoms.

Help! I'm Struggling With Low Libido

Low libido can make you feel embarrassed, frustrated, and angry. It’s a common problem, but you don’t have to accept it. Learn more about sexual dysfunction, what causes it, and how you can treat it to revitalize your sex life.

Can Any Medicine Help With Peyronie's Disease?

If you have Peyronie’s disease, you’re likely all too familiar with the curved, painful erections it causes. Peyronie’s disease can hinder your self-esteem and your sex life, but it’s treatable. Find out if prescription XIAFLEX® is right for you.

Are You Suffering From Vaginismus?

Vaginismus commonly makes vaginal penetration painful or impossible. If you can’t have penetrative sex, use tampons, or get pelvic exams, you could be suffering from vaginismus. Learn more about it and find treatment here.