A revealing new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine points to a whole new reason to feel uncomfortable at the gynecologist.
Researchers at the University of Chicago have published a study entitled: "What We Don't Talk About When We Don't Talk About Sex: Results of a National Survey of U.S. Obstretician/Gynecologists."
Researchers Janelle Sobecki, Farr Curtin, Kenneth Rasinski and Stacy Tessler Lindau surveyed a population-based sample of 1,154 practicing ob/gyns in the U.S. for the study. The average age of those surveyed was 48, and 53 percent of respondents were male. The results were based on a multivariable analysis of self-reported practices and beliefs of respondents.
According to Sobecki, et al, most physicians only asked their patients peripheral questions about sex, and many never broached the subject at all. Only 63 percent of respondents reported that they regularly asked their patients about sexual activity. Only 40 percent said they inquired about sexual dysfunction.
Even fewer expressed interest in their patients' sexual satisfaction (28.5 percent), and a mere 13 percent asked women about sexual pleasure. Most (73 percent) even failed to ask their patients' sexual orientation.
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And just in case you didn't get your daily dose of shame from that fabulous Digital Rectal Exam, it's nice to know that 25 percent of vagina docs in the study said they passed judgment on their patients' sexual practices, and told them so at some point during their appointments.
The study did not ask the respondents why they failed to delve into the finer points of sex, but co-researcher Stacy Tessler Lindau told Web MD that she suspects both societal and scientific factors are at play. She cited lack of time, lack of available treatments for female sexual dysfunction, and feelings of embarrassment as potential contributors.
So, the next time you're spread eagle in stirrups with a cold metal speculum in your hoo-ha, be a dear and try not to make your doctor feel too uncomfortable.