A report in The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality describes the level of emphasis placed on particular sexual health topics in Canadian medical schools. Both the level of emphasis and the utilized teaching methods among 51 residency programs for obstetrics and gynecology (OBG), family medicine (FM), and undergraduate medicine (UGM) were evaluated. Program Directors and Associate Deans of the respective programs were electronically surveyed about the following topics: contraception, disease prevention, sexual violence/assault, childhood sexual abuse, sexual dysfunction, childhood and adolescent sexuality, role of sexuality in relationships, aging and sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and social and cultural differences.
The topic that received the most emphasis among the 3 program types was “information and skills for contraception.” Disease prevention for sexually-transmitted diseases was also a high-ranking topic.
The authors point out that while it seems understandable that OBG residencies may not include a significant amount of training in male sexual health, there was an absence of evidence on training in child sexual abuse and adolescent female sexuality in the OBG programs. The article notes other omissions of emphasis such as the lack of training among family practice residencies in transgender and gender identity issues, disability and sexuality, and cultural differences.
This article gives some insight into potential topics of training in human sexual health, and the lack of education in physicians regarding topics of sexual function and dysfunction. In addition to lacking knowledge of some topics in childhood, adolescent, and men’s and women’s health, we can be certain that most providers are not instructed in the role of pelvic rehabilitation providers for sexual dysfunction. How can we contribute to a provider’s knowledge of rehabilitation of sexual dysfunction?
Core lectures, including grand rounds and clinical training made up the primary modes of education for sexual health topics. What if each of us reached out to local training programs, or to local teaching hospitals, or even clinical groups and provided an educational platform about our role in sexual health?
In order to provide such training, you might feel as though you need additional resources and knowledge about sexual health and healing. If you would like to explore how we can maximize our contributions to men and women with sexual dysfunction, and explore your own thoughts and beliefs about sexual health, check out Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute co-founder Holly Herman’s course on Sexual Medicine for Men and Women taking place next in April in New Jersey.