Opening Your Lines of Sexual Health Communication PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Palacios   
Thursday, 04 February 2010 05:44

Opening Your Lines of Sexual Health Communication
Headache? No problem. Broken arm? Easily discussed. But when it comes to sex, the conversation stops. One local expert offers reasons and advice for talking about your sexual health.

Let's talk about sex. Those four words can bring a range of emotions, spanning from excitement to embarrassment, depending on who's taking part in the conversation. But if you're talking to your doctor, embarrassment should not be part of the equation.


Talking to your doctor or nurse practitioner about your sexual health shouldn't be one of those responsibilities you know you need to take care of but let slide time and time again. "If you have a concern, I think you have to raise it with your health care provider," says Lisa Martinez, founder of The Women's Sexual Health Foundation (TWSHF)National Vulvodynia Association. and current consultant with the


A few years ago, TWSHF found that only nine percent of women surveyed answered that their physician always asks if they have a sexual health concern during their annual visits. So you might need to take matters into your own hands and raise the question yourself.


One of the most common but least talked about issues is a problem with sexual intimacy. "One out of three women will end up having a cancer diagnosis, and out of that population, up to 90 percent will have a problem with intimacy," Martinez says.



While this is a widespread issue among women, this problem has solutions. If your current healthcare provider cannot help you, go to someone who can, Martinez says. And once you hear a proposed solution, be careful not to jump on board too quickly.


Whenever a doctor recommends surgery as a first resort, Martinez recommends getting a second or even third opinion. Also, talking to the doctor's previous patients who had the same procedure at least a year ago. "Definitely talk to two or three women," Martinez says.


If the doctor prescribes a medication, Martinez recommends asking questions you should ask whenever a doctor prescribes medication:


  • Why are you recommending this specifically?
  • Has the FDA approved this drug for this purpose?
  • How many other women have you put on this medication?
  • How successful were the results?
  • What are the risks involved?
  • What possible side effects have been linked to this drug?
  • What are my alternatives?



Openly discussing your health puts you in control, but the topic still can be difficult for some to discuss. "If you really don't feel comfortable talking about this topic with your physician, tell your doctor or nurse practitioner. … Set the stage for the conversation," Martinez says.


For more information about this topic and other sexual health issues, you currently can visit Because of a lack of resources, TWSHF sought out an organization with a like mission and similar business model to receive the TWSHF assets early this year, and they found that in the National Vulvodynia Association. So the TWSHF Web site remains online, but the future of the Web site currently is under discussion.

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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