What Your Doctor Needs to Know About Your Sex Life

Discussing your sex life with your doctor may feel awkward at first, but it’s important for your overall health. Answer the questions honestly. Remember your doctor is a medical professional, and everything you say remains between the two of you.

Couple sitting in bed together

Are you sexually active?

Engaging in intercourse puts you at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). such as human papillomavirus (HPV), Chlamydia, genital herpes, or HIV/AIDS. STDs are contracted through contact with infected bodily fluids or tissues. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility or cervical cancer in women.

Feet poking out from under the covers

How many sexual partners do you currently have?

The number of people you sleep with affects your risk of being exposed to STDs. Before you start having sex with a new person, it’s crucial to ask if they’ve been tested. Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship, it’s important to get tested for STDs.

Woman in bed covering her face

Is sex painful for you?

Sexual problems could be factors for other conditions like hormone deficiencies, diabetes, or a chronic illness. If you experience reoccurring painful sex, you may have dyspareunia.

People toasting with alcoholic beverages.

Do you smoke, drink, or do drugs?

Smoking, narcotics, and alcohol can affect your libido. Alcohol can lower your inhibitions and impair your judgment, putting you more at risk of practicing unsafe sex. For men, too many drugs and alcohol can lower your libido and may lead to erectile dysfunction.

Doctor informing patient

Your questions and concerns About sex

Before your appointment come up with a list of questions to ask with your doctor. Topics could include birth control options, fertility, and sexual practices. Don’t be shy. Your doctor is a medical professional and is trained to address your concerns.

Woman laying in bed unhappy

What's your libido level?

Your sex drive or lack thereof relates to your general health. Low libido could be a symptom of another condition, if combined with factors. For example, people with depression, chronic illness, or diabetes may exhibit a lowered sex drive.

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The HealthCentral Editorial Team

HealthCentral's team of editors based in New York City and Arlington, VA, collaborates with patient advocates, medical professionals, and health journalists worldwide to bring you medically vetted information and personal stories from people living with chronic conditions to help you navigate the best path forward with your health—no matter your starting point.