What women aren’t talking about with their gynecologist but should
Being aware of your sexual health is important. For women, full sexual health includes a topic many are hesitant to address.
When it comes to a woman’s sexual health, gynecologist Kristl Tomlin, MD, has three major guidelines:
- Sex should always be safe.
- Sex should always be consensual.
- Women should have, throughout all stages in life, a reasonable expectation to enjoy sex.
Gynecologists like Dr. Tomlin find there is a lack of understanding that women should be able to find sexual health rewarding – in middle or postmenopausal years as well as when young – and that doctors are here to help.
“I always ask patients specifically about their enjoyment of sex. It’s amazing how many women will say, once you ask directly, that they don’t have any enjoyment,” said Dr. Tomlin.
“As women’s healthcare providers, we don’t just serve a role doing cervical cancer and breast cancer screenings, we should be there to talk to our patients about things such as sexual health so they can be sure that they’re enjoying their life to the fullest,” said Dr.Tomlin.
To help increase awareness, Dr. Tomlin provides a few things all women should know regarding sexual health and enjoyment.
There are predispositions for female lack of enjoyment of sex or poor sexual health.
The most common ones include:
- Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
- Chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease.
- Chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia.
- OBGYN-specific conditions such as vaginal dryness.
There is a condition called Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD).
Women with HSDD face an inability to become aroused or interested in sex, in absence of other organic causes, such as those listed above. There are proven treatments available for HSDD, including sex therapy, counseling and medication.
If you are facing a lack of enjoyment or desire for sex, talk to your women’s healthcare provider.
If you are feeling nervous or hesitant:
- Schedule an independent meeting with your doctor dedicated to the topic – possibly in an office rather than an exam room.
- Write your questions and thoughts down beforehand.
- Be honest.