Your gynae might have “Dr” before her name, but sometimes you have to be the one to school her. That’s because docs don’t always initiate über important talks. It goes both ways, too. We’re often embarrassed to bring up topics about our sexual health for fear of being judged. Per the Ovarian Research Trust, 66% of 18-24 year-olds are so shy of talking with a doctor about sex that they forego the visit altogether, which holds some serious risks, like not knowing your sexual health status and making poor decisions based of Internet research.
We’ve put down some common topics often avoided at the doc’s rooms, and how you can bring ‘em up constructively.
Talking with a doctor about: the baby convo
Many ob-gyns are uncomfortable bringing up fertility, per a recent study. Why? They may not want to seem judgy or presumptuous, and can’t answer the “Am I fertile?” question until you start trying.
Why It Matters
If you’re thinking about babies, it’s time to talk about them (egg freezing too), because your reproductive years won’t last forever.
“I have some questions about my fertility; I’m hoping you can give me better answers than the Internet.” Your gynae will jump at the chance to sift fact from fiction and you can get specific.
Talking with a doctor about: STI tests
These aren’t built into your annual check-up, nor are all STIs included when you say, “Test me for everything.” Plus, your doc won’t know when you need ’em unless you tell her (or she sees something amiss).
Why It Matters
In many cases, the longer an STI goes untreated, the more damage it can cause. And you
could spread it. Plus, infections like HPV can turn into cervical cancer (the second most common cancer of women in South Africa and the one with the highest fatality rate) if all goes untreated.
“What STI tests do you think I need?” This should lead to a chat about sex habits, number of partners, condom use and so on, to determine your risk level. Ask whenever you have a concern or have had unprotected sex.
Talking with a doctor about: your sexual happiness
Loss of desire, trouble orgasming? Too few gynaes will “pry” into this part of your sex life. Almost 65% of SA women are keen to take sexual matters into their own hands, says Désir Intimates owner and MD Brodie Meyer. “They’re big on self-pleasure, with rabbit vibrators making up almost 70% of their purchases, followed closely by lubricants.”
Why It Matters
A stronger pelvic floor, healthier heart and immune system, better sleep and immediate pain relief… the benefits of sexual happiness are endless!
“Doc, errrr, is too much self-pleasure bad?” This will launch into a larger discussion about your sexual habits between the sheets, which can shed light on the health (and happiness) of your vagina and clitoris. Your doc can also guide you through any problems you may be experiencing during sex, like pains, which could open up a further discussion of possible causes, like endometriosis or a penetration disorder.