It wasn’t that long ago that women’s sexual health was a taboo subject largely brushed under the rug by medical science. While we’ve seen a lot of progress since those dark days, there are still cultural pressures in place that can make it difficult for women to receive the care they need. Some of these barriers are based on age, with older individuals being underserved in areas of sexual health. Others find difficulty discussing their experience with their practitioner, finding that sex for reasons other than reproduction tends to be deemphasized in importance. While the world continues to move forward, effective care for women’s sexual health can still be difficult to find.
The Lifelong Importance Of Women’s Sexual Health
Receiving unbiased, grounded sexual health information is important in every part of our lives. Being able to discuss it with our medical practitioners without stigma at a young age makes many important things possible. It remains important as we age and our bodies continue to change, and often our relationship with sexuality with it. Studies show that many women continue to feel apprehension when it comes to discussing topics of sexuality with their health care providers (HCP).
Surprisingly, this experience was consistent regardless of any social factors that were considered. Women of all ages, cultural backgrounds, sexuality, ethnicity, educational level all reported similar feelings when discussing this information with their HCP. This shows that the issue at hand goes beyond what is perceived as socially acceptable in a given patient’s environment.
Women seeking sexual health care often discover that:
- Sexual concerns not centered on reproduction are often deemphasized
- They feel their sexual concerns are not seen as a priority
- Physician understanding of sexuality is limited to “traditional” intercourse
- Sexual health issues in older women are perceived as a “natural consequence of aging.”
These points represent some of the most common complaints from women seeking sexual health care in the United States. While some areas are more receptive to these conversations than others, the lack of open sexual health care for women continues to be a significant concern.
This indicates a significant need for change in the women’s health care system. The topic of sexuality needs to be open for discussion on both sides of the patient/doctor relationship. Nearly 73% of women surveyed as part of these studies stated that their sexual health is rarely if ever, brought up by their physician.
Discussing Sexual Health With A Women’s Healthcare Provider
If you’re among of the numerous women who treasure their sexuality as an essential part of their identity and health, it’s time to take action. If you’re presently seeking a new women’s healthcare provider, be sure to ask about their approach to sexual health. You deserve an open and comfortable environment that is willing to address all areas of your sexual health. Be sure to mention any sexual health concerns you have during your appointments, and be prepared to change practitioners if they show hesitancy in discussing it. Every element of your health is important, and you deserve a women’s healthcare provider who will address them openly.