Dear Dr. Kate,
Are most gynecologists willing to talk about sex in fairly graphic detail — is it just a matter of the patient asking the questions? Or are some gynecologists more open to this than others? For example, I know that I can ask any gynecologist about what a pap smear is and they’ll happily answer. And I know I could ask any gynecologist about basic/medical sex stuff, for example, why sex hurts, or what birth control method is right for me. But will any gynecologist be happy to talk in more depth about sex, e.g. about why I can’t have an orgasm, for example?
— Curious Patient
Sad to say, the comfort level in talking about sex will vary from gyno to gyno. Part of this is the way we’re trained — or, more accurately, not trained. We get very little education about sexuality and sexual dysfunction throughout medical school and even residency. The gynos who are the most comfortable talking about these issues are likely self-taught. (I’ve done a lot of reading and gone to lectures to educate myself more.) And part of it is their natural comfort level talking about sex. Even in the clinical confines of an exam room, some gynos aren’t comfortable delving into the issues of sex. But the worst they’ll do is stammer — so it’s definitely worth asking your questions. And if your gyno can’t talk to you about your orgasms, then write to me again!
— Dr. Kate
Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.