Background of the Cincinnati Sexual Health Consortium
It is well established that sexual health concerns are frequently unrecognized and unaddressed in today’s health care setting. And yet studies document that sexual health is an important part of an individual’s overall health, and sexual dysfunction negatively impacts an individual’s emotional and physical health, overall quality of life and the quality of their relationships.
Why is sexual health and wellness so often overlooked? There are many reasons. First, patients often find it difficult or embarrassing to discuss their sexual health concerns with their health care providers. Secondly, providers are also often embarrassed to discuss sexual health concerns, due to their own societal, cultural or religious barriers, or due to their own lack of education and training in the field of sexual health. Thirdly, the current health care environment, with ever-shorter office visits and problem-focused visits, does not allow patients and providers to explore issues related to sexual health, which commonly have a relationship component. And finally, both across the country and within local communities, health care providers who specialize in sexual health issues are not linked or connected in a way that allows for patients or consumers to find appropriate specialists on their own, or for physicians who are not expert in sexual health to make appropriate referrals for their patients.