At our Sexual Function Clinics, we believe that a healthy and active sex life can make a crucial contribution to our overall health and wellbeing. If we wish, we should be able to enjoy sex throughout most of our lives, from young adulthood and well into older age. For many individuals and couples, it represents a vital and ongoing source of pleasure, that happily has also been shown to bring many benefits. These include emotional bonding, stress relief, self-confidence and cardiovascular fitness.
Conversely though, if you encounter problems with sex, this can have a number of consequences. Most obviously, this can lead to you missing out on the normal enjoyment that sex brings. In turn, this can affect your confidence and mood, potentially leading to problems such as anxiety and depression. If you are in a relationship, there are potential effects on the degree of closeness you feel with your partner. Equally, problems with your mood or relationship can themselves lead to sexual difficulties.
Some concerns or worries about your sex life will not represent medical problems as such, but instead may represent normal parts of the variation we all experience through sex over time. It can be helpful to discuss these concerns, to get a better feel for what can be considered “normal” variation, or what might represent a medical issue that could be addressed. Many sexual concerns can be resolved by talking things through, sometimes bolstered by formal psychosexual and/or relationship counselling.
We are happy to see patients of all ages and any sexual identity or orientation. We recognise that some people may have specific concerns regarding their gender or sexuality and that these concerns can sometimes cause sexual problems.
There are several medical issues that can be related to sexual problems. For example, for men, it is well established that problems with erections (erectile dysfunction) can be linked to conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other factors that could be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart problems and strokes). Also, in both men and women, some sexual problems can be caused by changes in hormone levels.
Furthermore, there are many medications or previous medical interventions (e.g. surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy) that can have effects on sexual performance and/or enjoyment. Individual lifestyle factors can also have important effects on sex. These include fitness, weight, alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs.
To tie this all together, we offer a comprehensive and holistic assessment of sexual problems, taking into account a broad range of factors. We will consider your sexual experience, beliefs, and concerns, as well as any relationship issues (if relevant). As your initial consultation will be with doctors with a background in general practice, we will also place this in a medical context: we will make a full assessment of any potential contributing factors from your overall health and lifestyle, and any medication that you take. We will of course take into consideration any treatments you may have already tried to help resolve your sexual problem.
From this overall assessment, it will then be possible to make a plan with you, specifically tailored to your own circumstances, to help address any sexual worries that you have. This may involve advice on changes you could make to your lifestyle. In addition, we may recommend specific treatments to help improve your sex life. We will sometimes refer onwards, when appropriate, for psychosexual counselling or therapy (often referred to as “sex therapy”).