How to talk with your doctor about sex

When it comes to your sexual health – it’s time to speak up.

Most women are hesitant to talk about sex with their doctors, yet many women experience some sort of sexual dysfunction—especially in mid-life. Some are concerned that what they’re going through isn’t normal, or that they may have to learn to live with symptoms they are experiencing. And plenty are just plain embarrassed to bring up the topic. But chances are that talking through what’s happening could help you better understand what’s going on with your own body, and produce some workable treatment options. If the goal is to get you feeling better and once again enjoying this important part of your relationship, it has to start with a conversation.

You’re likely not the first person to experience it.

The immediate benefit you’ll recognize from discussing any sexual issue with your doctor is in learning that you’re not alone. At least one in every five women – some studies suggest one out of every two women – will experience a type of sexual disorder in their lifetime. Simply beginning the conversation with your doctor puts you one step closer to a healthier sex life. Yes, it impacts a very private part of your life and involves the most intimate aspect of your relationship. But even though you’re sharing some highly personal information, the truth is that you have plenty of company.

Some of the more common problems in the bedroom have to do with sexual desire, a lack of enjoyment and physical pain. It’s important to let your doctor know if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Together, you can find the source of the problem and get you feeling like yourself again.

Many treatments are available.

Once you and your doctor establish an open and honest communication, together you can get to the source of the problem and create a treatment plan. The first one is to make healthy lifestyle choices. Your body needs to be in good working order for any kind of health improvement to take place. Be sure you’re eating right, limiting the alcohol you consume, exercising and getting enough sleep. Sometimes these adjustments alone make a difference. You may also consider trying new things with your partner. Sometimes a change in established habits feels special and that’s an improvement in itself. In some cases, a medical approach may be indicated. That could range from adjusting medication to treating physical or emotional conditions, or in some cases, surgery.

It starts with you.

It’s easier to stay focused on what you want to talk about if you write down your questions and concerns ahead of time. Note what’s happening in your life when you experience problems in the bedroom. Make an appointment, take a deep breath, and let your doctor know you have some concerns about your sex life. I promise you it won’t be the first time your doctor has heard that. And once you’ve started the conversation, you’ll be on track to improving an important part of your health.