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Sexual Dysfunction - Talking It Over

People who experience sexual difficulties, regardless of the cause, often feel uncomfortable about discussing the problem. Here are some tips for talking about sexual dysfunction with your doctor and with your partner.

Talking with your doctor

  • Don't feel embarrassed about bringing the problem to your doctor's attention; undoubtedly your physician has discussed this issue with many patients. Doctors view sexual dysfunction much like any other medical condition.
  • Your physician may treat you himself or herself or send you to a specialist, such as an endocrinologist (diabetes specialist), urologist, mental health professional or sex therapist, depending on your needs.
  • Start the conversation by saying, "Doctor, I am concerned. I no longer get an erection," or, "I don't seem to be able to maintain an erection long enough for intercourse." If you are a woman, you might say, "Intercourse is painful" or "I don't experience the same kind of sensations during intercourse as I once did." This should be enough to get a discussion started about an evaluation.
  • Write down your question and practice asking it before the appointment.
  • Suggest that your spouse or partner ask the question for you, either on the phone or in person.
  • Tell your doctor you took the sexual dysfunction quiz and may have a problem. Print out the quiz and take it to your appointment.
  • If your doctor seems disinterested, consider selecting a new doctor.

Talking with your partner

To maintain a fulfilling relationship with your spouse or partner, it's important to talk about the sexual difficulties you are experiencing:

  • Tell your partner how diabetes affects your body and sexual life.
  • Discuss possible sexual problems with your partner beforehand.
  • Describe what pleases you and ask what pleases your partner. For instance, a man experiencing impotence may just need more manual stimulation to get an erection.
  • Don't equate sexual performance with love or a fulfilling relationship; focus on letting your partner know you care and want to give pleasure as part of your relationship.
  • Use the sexual dysfunction quiz as a basis for discussion with your partner.

Page last updated: September 02, 2014