If you’re experiencing problems with sexual satisfaction, it’s time to talk to with your doctor. I know that may be the last thing you want to do. But for saving your sex life, think of it as being no different than if you were having issues with digestion or an aching back.
It’s time to be in charge of your sexual health. There is strong evidence that a person’s ability to function sexually is a basic part of their physical ability. Just like your blood pressure, body temperature, and weight are assessed at each doctor’s visit, your sexual health functioning is no different. When we have a healthy sex life, we are very likely to have a healthy relationship with our partner.
However, your sex life should not be taken for granted. If a man is experiencing erectile dysfunction or a woman’s vaginal dryness, these problems need to be out in the open so you and your doctor can work on a solution. The problem, though, is many people become timid or embarrassed about bringing up sexual problems. They clam up, not wanting to talk about it.
Ideally, doctors should be the ones to initiate the conversation. But this is not always the case. For example, in a study of OB-GYNs nationwide, about two-thirds routinely asked about patients’ sexual activity, 40 percent asked about sexual problems, 29 percent asked about sexual satisfaction and only 28 percent about sexual orientation. As a result, many doctors may worry that if they ask a patient about how their sex life is, they may offend the patient or feel uncomfortable with their knowledge about certain sexual issues.
Sexual health issues
If your sex life is suffering, other areas will be also affected too. For example, your mental, physical and emotional health is all affected by your ability to enjoy sex. So, whether dealing with a lack of interest in sex, a bad sexual experience causing you to avoid sex, or a common sexual health issue, having a candid, frank talk with your doctor can be the first important step in fixing the problem.
Communication is at the root of dealing with sexual health issues. It may be embarrassing to start the conversation, but once you broach the topic, most doctors will be more than willing to listen, giving you good advice.
How to talk to your doctor about sex
There are many ways to initiate the conversation. What feels right for one person may not feel right for someone else. Here are some ways to consider opening the door for a thorough discussion on whatever sexual problems you want to bring up with your doctor:
- Get past your fear of embarrassment. Your doctor has had many conversations with other patients regarding sex.
- Be prepared before the visit. If it helps, write out your questions about what you want to ask, so you can to help your doctor understand what is going on.
- Practice how you will start the conversation and practice asking questions.
- Start off by saying, “I have a personal issue I would like to ask you about.” The time to bring this up is at the start of your visit. Waiting until the end when the doctor is reaching for the doorknob and getting ready to leave, is not an opportune time.
- If you think sexual issues will take up a lot of time, let the nurse know in advance so the doctor can prepare for the discussion too.
- If your doctor does not know the answer to your question, ask for a referral for someone who will know the answer. A second opinion is always good.
- Unless you ask, you may never know and be stuck with a problem that is easily fixed. For instance, a woman having painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness can be given several suggestions to improve her sex life, fulfilling and restoring her enjoyment of it once again.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.