What Every Woman Should Know Before Talking to a Doctor About Sexual Dysfunction
For many women, discussing sexual problems can be awkward – it doesn’t have to be sex.
Chances are the word alone got your attention. Our reproductive urges are often tethered to a lot of emotional baggage – and, to some extent, for good reason.
Engaging in sexual activity is a complex issue. The fear of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, performance anxiety, and emotional vulnerabilities can complicate a completely natural desire for sex.
Fortunately, our culture is evolving toward a healthier view of our sex lives. And part of this evolution is being unafraid to discuss sexual issues – especially when it involves seeking help from a physician.
5 tips for talking to your doctor about sexual dysfunction
One of the best methods for overcoming a challenging experience is to have a plan. If you’re having difficulties in your sex life and experience anxiety about discussing them with your doctor, these tips can help:
1. It’s their job. Most of us don’t feel embarrassed when we tell a mechanic that our car keeps overheating. When you’re in your doctor’s office, think about it as though you were taking a device in for a repair. A good doctor is going to balance emotional sensitivities with medical examination, so you feel more comfortable about sharing your symptoms.
Furthermore, it’s your responsibility, both to your health and to your doctor, to provide as many details as possible to help achieve an accurate diagnosis.
2. You’re not unique. Here’s another thought that may help: It’s incredibly unlikely you’re the first patient with sexual dysfunction your doctor has treated. In fact, 40% of women in the U.S. will experience some form of the condition. You’re not going to be judged or treated differently – you’re in a doctor’s office, not a social setting. A good physician’s first and last thoughts on the matter involve your well-being.
3. It’s OK to fire your doctor. “Patient” is another word for “client.” Communication is the foundation of any relationship. You should feel comfortable talking about uncomfortable subjects with your doctor. If you try discussing sexual dysfunction and aren’t satisfied with the response: take your business elsewhere!
4. Write your questions down. Keeping a list of questions is an excellent way to prepare for your visit. Not only will the list remind you of everything you want to ask, but it can also offer a safety net to fall back on if you’re too uncomfortable to stay focused.
5. How to broach the subject. Sometimes, the most difficult aspect is simply getting started. Some women find it helpful to introduce the subject by saying, “I’m wondering if you might be able to help me with a problem I’ve been having.”
Talking about sexual dysfunction doesn’t have to be awkward. Researching your symptoms and potential treatment options before your appointment is an excellent way of easing the sex-talk jitters. Using medical terminology can dissolve the stigma associated with sexual dysfunction. Bringing your research with you can also provide support.
Even if – despite your best efforts and research – you’re still reluctant to discuss sexual dysfunction, just remember: A short, uncomfortable conversation with your doctor can lead to a lifetime of better living.
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