Sexual Aspects of Health Care

The problems that bring people into the health care system often have sexual aspects. These problems include chronic pain, limited range of motion, hormone imbalances, depression, fatigue, post-surgical and postpartum adjustment, and medication side effects. Each of these can reduce sexual desire, arousal, functioning, variety, and satisfaction.

Thus, sexuality is part of the health care professional’s concerns. Effective practitioners raise the issue of sexuality when appropriate, assess how much patients’ sexual functioning is undermined, validate patients’ concerns, and discuss strategies for coping with the sexual impact of medical problems and treatment.

We will examine the medical, social, and psychological aspects of patients’ sexuality, along with patients’ most common sexual concerns, such as body image, sex role identity, the question of “normal” sex, and compromised functioning. Topics covered include:

How to know when patients want & need to discuss sexuality
Assessing sexual function–questions that work
Common assumptions about sex you should not make
Common myths about sex most patients & health care professionals share
Reasonable sexual expectations in various circumstances: what is “normal” function?
Helping patients adapt their sexual activity to their health situation
Handling your own discomfort about discussing sexual adjustment

Participants will leave with practical tools for supporting patients in this critical arena, an expanded vocabulary for dealing with them, a better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses, and up-to-date knowledge about sexual functioning and sexual psychology.

Many participants will also find that the tools they acquire reduce their discomfort with sexuality, thus enhancing their own sexual expression. And this workshop is funny—you’ll laugh while you learn.