A doctor is sworn to keep your confidence. Any issue you bring to them, sex or otherwise, will be private.
This makes it a bit easier to confide the most personal things with them. But sex can complicate any conversation. The first thing you need to know is that doctors are just human beings. They arrive to their job with their own preconceived notions, moral standards, cultural and religious beliefs and personal hang-ups. It’s made worse when you realize doctors receive a limited amount of training (if any) in sexuality.
If you ask your doctor a question relating to your sexuality, they may refuse to “go there.” Some doctors don’t recognize sexuality as an important part of our personal health and the health of our relationships; while other doctors make it a point to study sexuality by reading all of the latest articles and subscribing to medical journals that address sex and health. It’s up to you to sift through and find the doctors who recognize the correlations between health and sex.
How to Search
Get to Googling or use your HMO/insurance listing and create a list of doctors that are available to you. If you are a female, you may want to request a female doctor as they will often have a deeper understanding when it comes to female anatomy and experiences like birthing a child and being a mother. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-gendered or queer (GLBTQ), you may want to seek out a doctor or clinic that openly caters to marginalized individuals. GLBTQ clinics often employ doctors who are sexually sophisticated and may also be open to individuals who live alternative lifestyles like sex workers, people who practice BDSM, people who have lots of tattoos or body piercings, etc…
Call every listing that may possibly suit your needs and ask to speak to the doctor you will be seeing on the phone before you set your appointment. Any good office will take your number and have the doctor call you.
When the doctor does call, ask straight out, “I’d like to speak with you honestly about issues that might possibly be health related and I feel are affecting my sex life. Is that something you are willing to address with me?” Then listen to the response you get from the doctor and use your instincts to decide if you would like to make an appointment with them.
Once you have found your doctor, it’s time for you to be a good patient. Before your appointment, sit down and write out a list of all of your questions and bring that list with you to your appointment. This way, if your time with your doctor is rushed, you can make sure to ask your doctor each and every question on your mind.
It’s sometimes hard for a person to remember that you live every day in your skin and this makes you the ultimate authority of your own body. You are also the person paying that doctor for their services. You have the right to ask for what you need without shame.
It takes courage to take these steps, but I promise doing this will bring you better medical care and get your questions about your body and sexuality answered in a respectable manner. You deserve that.
As you look for a sex-positive doctor, it’s also important to remember that doctors are human and they are not perfect. They are often way over worked and spend every day listening to people’s problems and complaints. It’s a hard job. But there are good doctors out there who want to help you. You just need to do a little work to find them.
© Tantus, Inc. 2012.
Ducky DooLittle is a sex educator, author, and certified Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Counselor from New York City. She has appeared in the New York Times, HBOs Real Sex, The Morning Show, MTV, NPR, Sirius Satellite Radio, to name a few.
Visit her website at http://www.duckydoolittle.com