Discussions about sexual needs and desires are often silenced due to societal norms and personal inhibitions. This silence extends to the doctor’s office, where patients might hesitate to discuss sex concerns with their healthcare team. Various factors, like societal stigma, personal discomfort, shame, or fear of judgment from healthcare providers can cause this reluctance.
However, it’s important to understand that sexual health is vital to overall well-being and open communication about sexuality is crucial for comprehensive care.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of bridging this communication gap to empower patients to advocate for their sexual health and help healthcare providers deliver personalized care.
Not all healthcare providers are comfortable or trained to discuss sensitive topics like sexual health. This discomfort can be rooted in various factors, including personal beliefs, lack of training, fear of legal liability, or the inherent delicacy of the subject matter. Such hesitance can inadvertently contribute to stigma and silence surrounding sexual health which creates a barrier to open and honest communication.
Medical providers, like everyone else, are impacted and influenced by society which may result in their own societal discomfort discussing sexual health. In some instances, providers who are untrained in sexual wellness and sexuality may harbor biases, leading to a gap in care for patients with distinct sexual interests and concerns.
As a patient, it is in your best interest to be mindful of this potential discomfort as you prepare yourself for these conversations. We recommend seeking medical support from professionals who are trained in sexual wellness as they may provide a safer, more inclusive, and holistic environment.
Self-Advocacy with Medical Providers
Taking responsibility for your sexual health includes challenging the stigma and shame surrounding the discourse of sexuality in healthcare. It necessitates standing up for your right to discuss your sexual health openly.
When communicating your needs and concerns to your healthcare provider, it’s important to be clear and assertive. We recommend you prepare a list of your concerns and questions prior to your appointment so you are well-prepared in the case that you experience anxiety during your appointment. Be specific about your symptoms and any changes you’ve noticed in your health.
Use simple, clear, and concise language to ensure that your provider understands your concerns. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if something is unclear. Active listening is crucial, so give your provider the opportunity to fully understand your experience.
What to Do If You Experience Shaming or Judgment
If you encounter potential shaming or judgment from your healthcare provider, it’s important to address the issue respectfully and assertively. Start by acknowledging your feelings and reminding yourself that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Practice self-regulation during the conversation. Clearly express your concerns about the judgmental comments or behavior and how it made you feel. Ask for clarification if needed and allow your provider to explain their perspective.
If the issue persists or you are unsatisfied with the response, seek a second opinion and find a new healthcare provider who aligns with your values and treats you with dignity. Remember, your health and well-being should always be prioritized.
Searching for Kink-Aware Health Professionals
These professionals, often called “kink-aware” professionals, have specific training and expertise in dealing with a range of sexual interests and practices and can provide appropriate care and resources. You can locate these professionals through online resources—a simple Google search for “kink-aware professionals” can be a great starting point.
Receive Expert and Compassionate Sex Therapy in a Safe Space
Looking for open-minded and accepting sex therapists you can trust? Search no further as The PNW Sex Therapy Collective is happy to support you. We prioritize inclusivity, diversity, and the needs of our clients. We specialize in various practice areas, including age-inclusive therapy, BDSM/kink, infertility, desire discrepancy, sexual exploration, infidelity repair, intimacy issues, LGBTQIA+ populations, non-monogamy, and more.
Start advocating for your sexual health today!