"The chance to love and be loved exists no matter where you are," Oprah said. When given the opportunity to write to our readers on a topic of our choice, we always have such difficulty narrowing down our options. If you've ever met me, you know I typically have plenty to say about everything! Today, I decided to stick with the general topic covering the majority of questions I'm asked on a daily basis in my practice.
Over the past five years, I've focused my gynecologic practice on sexual medicine. This has nothing to do with personal experience—yes, I'm asked that often—and everything to do with my lack of tolerance for not having appropriate or helpful answers to questions from loyal and trusting patients.
Medical schools and physician assistant schools have so much to teach students, and I understand it's difficult to extensively cover every single possible malady that may afflict a human being. However, sexuality affects every human being at some point in life.
I'd like to emphasize that my goal isn't to let people know how much sex they should be having or how much they should enjoy sex. My goal is to create an environment where my patients can ask questions—questions for which they would otherwise need to turn to "Dr. Google" for answers. We can probably all agree that may not be a fully informed source.
Since I have decided to further my education in this field, I have been asked about gender fluidity at baseball games, bestiality at ballet recitals, transgender issues at gymnastics meets, homosexuality at the splash pad, and adultery at middle school talent shows. I know we live in a conservative area, but it's clear to me that questions abound—and our friends, our family, our sons and daughters, our moms and dads just want real answers to their very real questions.
Sexuality is a natural part of life, and can be embraced and utilized in a comfortable, respectful and reciprocated manner in a healthy relationship with either oneself or a partner. So, please ask. And if your well-meaning and very capable provider is unable to answer, it's simply due to a system that's only beginning to see the importance of training medical providers in this aspect of general health.
Ask again—and again—until an answer settles the yearning in you. We as medical professionals are here to help. Soon, we'll all understand that sexuality can mean whatever it needs to mean to us, and that it can also change with time. Allow yourself the compassion and grace you need to flow through that, just as you flow through other changes in life. I wish you peace and happiness in this journey, wherever it may lead you.
Written by Nisha McKenzie PA-C, Director and Co-Founder, Center for Women's Sexual Health.