In my last post I talked about spirituality as a topic that man healthcare providers are uncomfortable asking their patients or clients about. This week I would like to talk about another area that healthcare providers are consistently neglecting: Sex.
As a psychologist, I find that sex is a topic well worth asking clients about because it can provide a lot of insight into relationships, communication, self-esteem, as well as behaviors that may be part of Addiction.
Sexual behavior and attitude can inform the counselling and general healthcare process. Are people at risk of STIs? Is there current abuse or neglect happening? Are people using sex in a healthy and appropriate way or are they using it for escape, reward, and/or relief? Do people know what healthy sex is? A healthy relationship? Is there sexual anorexia or bingeing happening?
For those who are aware they have Addiction involving substances or other behaviors, it is important to explore sexual health as sex can be used very similarly to drugs, alcohol, or other behaviors as it provides a quick dopamine hit. Sex can cover up feeling abandoned, rejected, insecure, or past trauma, and it can be a great distraction from other issues.
For all of these reasons (and more), if you are a healthcare provider then I would encourage you to ask your clients about their sexual behavior, as well as pornography and masturbation engagement. If you are not a healthcare provider then I would encourage you to speak to your trusted professionals about your sexual behavior to see if there is helpful information that can be gleaned from this to support you in your health journey.
By Paige Abbott, Registered Psychologist and Author