In its broadest sense, “sexuality” describes the whole way a person goes about expressing him or herself as a sexual being. The way we choose to behave sexually is as individual and complex as the way we choose to dress or earn a living.
Sexuality is such an important issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a universal definition of sexuality and has published a list of nine fundamental sexual rights. Further, the WHO has stated that “the ongoing process of physical, psychological, and socio-cultural well-being is related to sexuality.”
So why should we talk about sex? Because despite the importance of healthy sexual functioning in our lives:
- 79% of men and 69% of women report sexual difficulties
- 76% of men and 80% of women do not seek help for sexual problems
- 85% of adults want to discuss sexual functioning with their physicians
- 71% believe their physician does not have the time, or they do not want to embarrass their physician, or report encountering non-empathic and/or judgmental responses, physician discomfort, and lack of cultural sensitivity, or are concerned about privacy and/or confidentiality, or thought no treatment was available for their problems.
In my work as an obstetrician/gynecologist for more than 35 years, I’ve come to understand that those who have sexual difficulties are underserved in our community. Sexuality counseling is a field of practice that has always interested me and I’m excited to encourage men and women to open up to their health care providers about this part of their overall health.
Studies confirm that the majority of failed relationships have an associated element of sexual dissatisfaction, and that healthy sexual interaction is more likely to result in a happy relationship. Healthy sex and sexuality are clearly vital components of our overall health and well-being. If you have sexual difficulties, talk with your healthcare provider. Professionally trained sexuality counselors and sexual therapists like me can help.
What kinds of questions do you have about sexual difficulties? Let me know in the comments below.
Luigi D’Amato, MD, is a sexuality counselor who completed extensive training in sexuality counseling at the University of Michigan. A former obstetrician/gynecologist, he has more than 35 years of experience practicing medicine. Dr. D’Amato is available for sexuality counseling at the ProMedica Health and Wellness Center at 5700 Monroe St., Sylvania.