Why You Should Talk About Sex With Your Doctor


Sometimes, I see the surprise on my patient’s faces when I ask them about their sex lives.  They admit that most of their doctors don’t ask them about it and they are are afraid to bring it up.  Even when they have sexual concerns, often people feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their sexual health and concerns.

I like to assure my patients that they can talk to me about anything, and I often bring up difficult topics because I care about all aspects of health.  Sexual health is really important and can open up avenues of discovery and healing in regards to hormones, relationships and overall health.  

Talking about sex shouldn’t be shameful even if it feels difficult and if there are specific symptoms and concerns you are having, it’s really important to bring them up.  Sexual activity helps to balance your hormones, increase testosterone, and increases endorphins and other neurotransmitters.  It helps to relieve pain, improves sleep, boosts immune function and research shows it even helps you to live longer.  

These are a few reasons it is important to have healthy sexual function, regardless of your age or relationship status.

*First, your sexual health can give a good reflection of your overall health.  For example, if your libido, or sex drive, has plummeted, it may indicate other underlying problems.  It could be a symptom of depression, thyroid disease and insomnia.  The inability to have or maintain an erection or arousal could indicate cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or vaginal atrophy.

*Another reason why sexual function may be decreased is overuse of alcohol or recreational drugs.  Cigarette smoking also has been shown to lower hormones and increase infertility.  Prescription drugs can also affect sexual function with the most common culprits being anti-depression medications, blood pressure medications and birth control pills.

*Hormonal imbalance can also lead to sexual dysfunction.  While estrogen is necessary for vaginal lubrication and toe curling orgasms, an overabundance can leave us feeling fat, bloated or with problems such as fibroids, heavy periods, and endometriosis.  Your sexual health could be the first sign that a problem is brewing.

*If you are experiencing pain during intercourse or itching, odor, or spotting, it is important to have your doctor evaluate you for infections, vaginal atrophy or STD’s.  Any sexual activity that is less than pleasurable should warrant investigation.

*A healthy sex life usually means that there is a healthy relationship.  Loneliness seems to be even more detrimental to health than smoking.  Sometimes a wane in our sexual function can signal a need for change in our relationships.  This may mean making the relationship more of a priority, scheduling in time for intimacy and affection, learning a new sexual technique like tantra, or even terminating an abusive relationship.  
If there is an absence of sex in the relationship, it can be an indication of an unresolved issue that needs to be addressed so that the relationship can heal.

Sexual activity should be pleasurable, uplifting, energizing and leave you feeling empowered and alive.  If it doesn’t, have a discussion on ways to achieve this.  It might mean balancing your hormones, alleviating stress, or releasing trauma stored within.  Our sexual center is also the seat of our creative power, so healing this area allows us to show up more in our power in the world.