How to address sexuality with a woman during medical consultation?

Nathalie Michaux(1), Maria-Laura Marotta(2), Marcelo Di Gregorio(3), Christine Reynaert(4) Published in the journal : September 2018 Category : Congrès de médecine sexuelle

Summary :

This article explains in a very concrete way how to approach sexuality with a female patient during a consultation, irrespective of the medical specialty. During anamnesis, the challenge consists in taking the time to ask a simple question concerning the sexual health and to listen to the answer in an empathic, active, and open way. When diagnosing a possible sexual dysfunction, it is essential to integrate the notion of sexual satisfaction, the absence of which defines the sexual disorder. Every physician to whom a patient confides a sexual problem can take part in her treatment, first of all by informing her on the physiological principles of female sexuality, which will be described in the article. Female sexuality can be divided into three phases, i.e., desire, arousal, and orgasm, with the female sexual response following a circular model. Moreover, the physician can prescribe non-specific treatments for female sexual dysfunctions that target possible non-sexological disorders as triggers or optimize the arousal phase. He can also provide the patient with advices that may seem trivial but can have an enormous impact on our patients’ sexual health. These simple concepts, which are summarized in this article, demonstrate that talking about sexuality with our patients in consultation is not complicated. The tricky part is to cross the barrier of intimacy and integrate this sexological knowledge in an always complex reality.

What is already known about the topic?

Many physicians are convinced that addressing the sexual health issue with their patient is part of their mission. However, most of them do not know how to implement it in their clinical practice.

What does this article bring up for us?

Advices and concrete tools applicable to any medical consultation, be it in general medicine or in specialized branches of medicine.


Sexology, sexual dysfunction, woman, consultation, medicine, physiology, treatment