Medical Doctors as Sexperts?

Posted in   The MamaSutra   on  March 4, 2016 by  Lanae minutes remaining

Want to know why sexologists and sex educators are important? Often, people go to their medical doctor or physician looking for help when they have a sexual concern. Do you know how many hours doctors get in learning about sex ed in medical school? Not enough. But it’s not their fault.

This study from 2003 shows that of 141 medical schools in North America, “the majority (54.1%) of the schools provided 3–10 h of education” about sexuality. I was shocked to read that; some of the people going to their doctors for help probably have that much. It is a sad figure, but to be fair, doctors already have so many other demands and pressures in their job for which they are responsible.

Some physicians dread “the doorknob question” – the questions patients ask after the exam as the doctor is reaching for the doorknob to exit the room. Usually, these inquiries have to do with sex. If the medical professional has not received a lot of education on the topic, I can understand their hesitation.

Sexologists, Sex Coaches, & Sex Educators are here to help take the load off. At last count, I have obtained over 1300 hours of human sexuality studies in my quest to become a Sexologist. I have learned what is taught in medical schools – “causes of sexual dysfunction (94.1%), the treatment of sexual dysfunction (85.2%), altered sexual identification (79.2%) and issues of sexuality and sexual function in illness or disability (69.3%) were included in the curriculum of the 93 respondents. Other topics covered by some medical schools included sexually transmitted diseases, infertility, sexual abuse, and sex across the life span. A sexologist learns all this and more in depth.

[note: I honestly don’t know what they’re trying to say here with “altered sexual identification”? Do they mean different gender identities or sexual orientations? Who knows.]

There is even more support for physicians and doctors as it relates to helping the public with sexual health. For example, fantastic organizations like Project Prepare out of Oakland, CA, whose Gynecological Teaching Associates train medical and nursing students at local universities by acting as live models for breast and pelvic exams. The GTAs I know are also trained sexologists, so they can help instruct the med students in asking and fielding tough questions from patients and giving feedback on the experience as their patient. I wish every university and teaching hospital had programs like this to aid in teaching future doctors and nurses.

As a sexologist, I have knowledge of and experience with complex concepts like BDSM, polyamory, tantra, fetishes, and others. Sexology is the study of what people do sexually and how they think and feel about it. Sexuality is an essential component of our being and is one thing we all have in common as humans. People engage in a variety of behaviors for a number of reasons. Do you know the question sexologists are asked most often: “Am I Normal?”

I don’t believe we need to burden physicians with more to learn. That’s not the answer. It would be great if the medical community more widely embraced and partnered with experts in sexology who have education and experience and who can help to meet the demand for sexual health concerns.

Meanwhile, if you want assistance with a sexual concern or issue, look at the member guides for these groups:

http://worldassociationofsexcoaches.org

http://www.americancollegeofsexologists.org

http://www.wocshn.org

Also, AASECT or SSSS.

Wishing you all safe, sane, and consensual sexual adventures.

xxoo

The MamaSutra

About the Author Lanae

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on themamasutra.com.

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