What is Sexual Medicine?

There are lots of different factors that can affect sexual function. As a Sexual Medicine doctor I look at  all the physical, psychological, relationship and cultural factors that may be contributing to your sexual difficulties.

Some people may choose to see their local GP, a psychologist or a specialist sexual medicine practitioner, like me, to discuss concerns about their sexuality. I provide a thorough and professional approach and welcome people with open-mindedness and compassion.

How can we help

I understand that it can be daunting to  book an appointment to talk about such a personal and private issue. However, I strongly believe that everyone has the right to experience sexual pleasure and to have a confident, healthy and satisfying sex life.

My purpose is to help people with a wide range of issues, including:

  • Pain during sex
  • Desire or arousal problems
  • Orgasmic disorders
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Relationship problems related to sex
  • Exploring issues of sexual orientation and gender
  • Age related changes in sexual function 
  • The impact of medical conditions such as cancer and neurological disorders 
  • Sexual changes after childbirth 

Common Sexual Medicine Issues

Many people worry that either their or their partners desire for sex is not high enough. The lower desire partner is often seen as the one having a problem. It is more useful to think about this in terms of it as being a difference between people. If two people both only desire sex quite infrequently then it is not a problem. Similarly, if two people have well-matched high libidos then they will be happy. Libido, or a desire for sex is complex and often changes throughout a person’s life. It may be influenced by physical health, psychological factors, relationship dynamics and cultural beliefs and values. In helping you with any concerns regarding a desire for sex, I will look at all these areas of your life.

There are many different reasons why women may experience pain during sexual intercourse. Sometimes it is because they are not adequately aroused, or because anxiety or even beliefs regarding intercourse lead to overactivity of the pelvic floor muscles – a condition called Vaginismus. There are many gynaecological conditions such as vulvodynia and endometriosis that also sometimes cause pain with intercourse. Many women experience discomfort that starts at menopause, due to low oestrogen levels. Intercourse should never be painful and it is very important to be properly checked by a doctor to find the cause for the pain so that the most effective help can be found.  More enjoyable lovemaking is also always possible by taking the focus away from intercourse and exploring the full repertoire of sexual pleasure.

Difficulty in gaining and/or maintaining a firm erection is a concern for many men of all ages but becomes more common with each decade of life. Erectile difficulties in younger men are much more likely to have a psychological cause, while in men who are getting older this is more likely to be a mixture of health problems and psychological factors. There are many ways in which men can be helped to improve erections, such as medication, treating medical problems, lifestyle changes and counselling. Many men can also be helped to have an enjoyable sex life even despite their erection problem.

The most common problem that men experience is Premature Ejaculation. This is when ejaculation occurs soon after commencing intercourse or even before sexual penetration. Sometimes this is caused by anxiety, but there are also genetic factors. There is now effective medication to help extend the length of time before ejaculation occurs. Psychological strategies and education around the wide repertoire of sexual activities other than intercourse means that men can all have an enjoyable and satisfying sex life. Sometimes men take longer to reach orgasm than they would like. This is particularly true in older men. Some medications have sexual side effects and may cause difficulty with ejaculation. Often counselling regarding lifestyle and fitness, checking out medical issues and discussion of aspects of sexual stimulation result in men being more satisfied.

By far the biggest factor that leads to women not experiencing orgasm or viewing themselves as having a problem with orgasm is that they are not having the type of sexual stimulation that is adequate for orgasm to occur. A strongly held cultural view that sees “Sex” as “Intercourse “with all the rest of the repertoire being demoted to being support acts, is a model that is certain to leave many women sexually dissatisfied. By educating women and their partners about their bodies, particularly about the incredible and poorly appreciated clitoris and its central role in female sexual pleasure, many women will discover that their sexual pleasure can be greatly enhanced.

In helping you with concerns regarding orgasm I will look at medical issues, relationship factors, psychological factors and the huge influence that culture plays in shaping our sex lives.

Many men and women still value sexual intimacy and pleasure well into later life. Declining testosterone, chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, diabetes and musculoskeletal problems may all affect sexual function. There are many things that can be done to enhance sexual function once the causes are properly understood. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight and getting fitter all improve an older man’s sex life.

Medical treatment such at Testosterone Therapy is suitable for some men and many men benefit from medication to help erections.

Fortunately, due to better treatment of cancer, there are many people who continue to live a rich and fulfilled life after treatment for cancer. There are many different ways in which the cancer or its treatment can impact on the enjoyment of sex. There are equally as many ways that people can be helped to adjust to these changes and embrace a healthy sexuality despite their cancer. With my broad medical knowledge as a GP I am able to help in this process and help my patients thrive.

The majority of women at the time of menopause consider sexual intimacy and pleasure to be very important to them. The hormonal changes that occur may affect sexual function in a number of ways. Women may have reduced desire, slower arousal and reduced vaginal lubrication leading to discomfort with intercourse.

There are many ways in which these issues can be treated to enhance women’s enjoyment of sex after menopause.

Book an Appointment

The Bays Hospital Mornington or Balnarring Medical Centre

For questions & enquiries, please get in touch