The most important question you need to ask your doctor

Ask your doctor about sexWhen you go in and see your doctor, there is a routine set of questions they commonly ask, along with basic risk factors they look for. Your doctor will listen to your breathing, check your blood pressure, and even look down your tonsils – of course, this is all depending on the symptoms that brought you into their office on that given day. Your doctor may also ask about your physical activity, smoking habits, and diet – but have you ever been asked about your sex life? Probably not…

It may seem too personal, but many patients have burning questions or concerns regarding their sex life that they are simply too shy to bring up. If the doctor doesn’t touch upon this topic, most likely it will remain neglected.


Believe it or not, but asking about a patient’s sex life is a fundamental part in compiling a comprehensive medical record. And yet, many patients go through their appointment without ever discussing this part of their health. This gap in a patient’s health information can hinder the care a person receives, as sex has been found to be an important part in people’s lives. So, many people go through their days without suspecting there may be something wrong with them or without getting any help to fix their sex-related concerns.

Patients want to talk about sex

A 2012 survey uncovered that less than two-thirds of obstetricians, gynecologists, and physicians ask patients about their sex lives, and only 40 percent ask about sex-related issues. Furthermore, only a mere 29 percent of patients actually address their sex concerns to their doctors. As you can see, the conversation is nearly muted.

The survey also revealed that 99 percent of patients undergoing a gynecological examination have at least one sex-related concern involving either lack of orgasm, lack of sexual interest, painful intercourse, or unmet sexual needs. And when a doctor does ask, only 16 to 43 percent of women and nine to 29 percent of men will share their sexual concerns.

Although there are patients who choose to keep that part of their health private, there are still many of them who want to voice their worries but don’t, because the topic is never raised. Even an international study involving over 27,000 men and women found that only 19 percent of them sought out medical advice for their sex issues, while only nine percent were even asked about their sex life.

Sexual health helps improve overall health

Sharing your sexual concerns with your doctor is not only important for improving your bedroom performance or your reproductive health. In fact, being aware of a patient’s sexual problems may prompt the doctor to dig deeper for a more serious cause underlying that problem. For example, in many cases, erectile dysfunction is a sign of cardiovascular disease. Your doctor can test you for this condition and prescribe an appropriate treatment – if, of course, they are made aware of that other issue you have.

When asking a patient about their sexual health, a doctor will pose questions regarding sexual interest, arousal, satisfaction, quality of relationship, mood, and pain, along with the effects of illnesses, medications, and surgeries in order to get a well-rounded picture. Asking about medication is particularly important as many drugs list low libido as a side effect. If you experience libido or arousal problems, bringing this up during your appointment can prompt your doctor to choose another medication or come up with an alternative solution for you. This holds particularly true because at least one in 10 Americans is on a regular medication and seniors often take more than one medication, which can increase the risk of low libido and sexual dysfunction.

That brings us to another point. Sex talk with a doctor may seem obvious for the younger generation, but older adults also need to have that personal conversation with their doctor, as they are at an increased risk for sex-related problems – many of which can be fixed very easily.

We hope that we have educated you on the importance of talking to your doctor about sex and putting aside the fear or embarrassment that conversation may bring. Sexual health is a crucial part of your overall well-being. When you keep your sex-related problems to yourself and don’t share them with your doctor, it’s like hiding your blood pressure readings or changes in bowel movements – it may result in misdiagnosis or no diagnosis at all, possibly delaying an important treatment or lifestyle change that you need to make right now.

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