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Let's Talk About Sex

Let’s Talk About Sex

Let’s talk about sex…or in the case of most health care providers, let’s not.  More and more research is coming out showing that even though sexuality and sexual activity is an important part of health, well-being and quality of life, most health care providers don’t ask about sexual history, sexual partners, STDs, prevention of STDs or pregnancy.  Think about it.  When was the last time anyone in the health care realm asked you about sex?  Are you having it?  Are you satisfied? Are you having pain?

People WANT to talk about sex with their doctors.  In a survey of women preparing for a gynecological appointment, 99% had a sexual concern (J Fam Pract. 2000 March; 49(03):229-232).  These concerns ranged from lack of libido or orgasm to pain with intercourse.  Yet in another survey, only 19% of patients brought up their sexual concerns with their physicians and only 9% had been asked about sexual concerns by their provider (Arch Sex Behav. 2006 Apr;35(2):145-61).

The only way that providers can find out if patients need help with sexuality issues is to ask.  And conversely, the best way to let your healthcare provider know that you are having sexual concerns is to bring up the topic.  Unfortunately, the odds are that the topic won’t ever be broached.
It can be uncomfortable to talk about sex with someone you might see once a year and don’t know on a personal level.  But such discussions can be vital to our own personal quality of life and to our intimate relationships.  It is important that we are able to discuss our sexual health with our health care providers.

Our quality of sexual health or lack of sexuality can give important clues to our overall health—physical, mental and emotional—to our providers.  Are medications causing a lack of libido?  Do you need a medication to address vaginal dryness?  Can your pain be addressed with pelvic floor rehab?  Would working with a counselor or therapist help to address emotional concerns related to your sexual well-being?

So let’s talk about sex!  Let’s improve our sexual health and quality of life.  Maybe if we start talking to our providers about sex, our providers will become more comfortable and start asking questions.

Jenn Cumming, PT MSPT CLT WCS

This blog is here for your help. It is the opinion of a Licensed Occupational Therapist. If you experience the symptoms addressed you should seek the help of a medical professional who can diagnose and develop a treatment plan that is individualized for you.  If you enjoyed this blog, check out our website at for more blog entries and to learn more about our specialty PT practice, Foundational Concepts.  Follow us on Twitter @Foundational1 and like us on Facebook/Foundational Concepts for updates.

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