Discussing Sex in the Doctor's Office
Sex is a taboo subject for most Americans. It can get personal and emotional very quickly. Talking about gender and sexuality is vulnerable. These topics reveal who we are as people. Gender and sexuality expose some of our deepest desires and fears. Our health is one of the most personal and sensitive subjects as well. How can we talk to our healthcare providers about our sexual health?
Talking to your doctor about sexual health
The relationship between you and your doctor is a confidential one. That means that things you tell to a physician are just between you and the healthcare provider. Going to the doctor can be so nerve-racking in my experience and, sometimes feelings of embarrassment and shame can get in the way of being 100 percent truthful. And let’s be realistic, we don’t always tell the truth in our romantic relationships.
Help build a relationship with your doctor
All great relationships take time, energy, and trust-building over time. That first visit with a new doctor is an important one. Make sure to schedule an hour for a complete examination. That way, there is no time rush for the doctor to see other patients. This long visit should happen at least once a year. Remember, to ask your doctor about any follow-up appointments you need.
Don't be afraid to ask questions
A doctor is a person with expertise in medicine, but they are not an expert on you. A good relationship between a patient and a doctor is dependent on this. Questions help us get there.
Always go to the doctor with any questions and concerns you have about your body or medications. It is always good to ask for more explanation if you need it. A doctor should be able to explain everything in plain language and leave you confident in knowing your health condition and steps you can take to maintain or improve your health.
Break down the power dynamic
This step of talking to your doctor with truth is so important. Especially for Black men and all men of color, because historically we have been distrustful of the medical community and medical professionals haven’t made enough effort to reach people in their environment.
Now is the time to change this fact. Be proud and true to yourself. It’s a relationship, so don’t feel bad about switching providers if you find one that is a better fit.
So if you don’t have a primary care doctor, call the number on the back of your insurance card and make an appointment today.
How often does someone offer you unsolicited advice on your health?