What is Sexual Medicine?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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Sexual medicine is a branch of medicine that deals primarily with reproductive and sexual health. This field strives to take into account all the factors that can impact a patient's sexual health, including the social, the physical, and the psychological. Sexual medicine physicians typically embark upon a program of study that encompasses the physiology and psychology of normal and abnormal sexual development and function. This medical specialty generally aims to offer treatment for sexual health and reproductive conditions. Some of these conditions may have physical causes, but others may stem from psychological disturbances or traumas.

Doctors of sexual medicine are considered to be practicing a legitimate medical specialty. Several branches of medicine, including urology, are considered to be types of sexual medicine. Sexual medicine may concern itself with any problem that impacts normal sexual function or reproductive health, whether that problem occurs due to physical causes, psychological problems, or inappropriate social influences.

Practitioners of sexual medicine generally seek to understand the elements of normal sexual function and reproduction, in a context that takes into account societal influence on sexual function and psychological barriers to normal sexual function. Sexual dysfunctions and disorders of the reproductive organs, in both men and women, may be the primary concern of sexual medicine physicians. These physicians may treat disorders of sexual arousal or desire, as well as orgasmic or ejaculatory disorders. These physicians may also choose to concern themselves with treating abnormal, and especially harmful, patterns of sexual behavior or sexual desire. Disorders of gender identity may often be referred to a physician who specializes in sexual medicine.

Some doctors of sexual medicine may concern themselves with treating the sexual dysfunctions that can occur after trauma. Victims of rape, assault, and sexual abuse may benefit from treatment by a physician of sexual medicine. Doctors of sexual medicine may also help to treat psychological problems that can inhibit proper sexual function. Drug abuse, reproductive problems, sexually transmitted diseases and serious medical conditions can all influence proper sexual function. A doctor of sexual medicine may concern himself with restoring proper sexual function to patients whose sexual health has been compromised by one of these conditions.

Physical abnormalities of the sexual or reproductive organs might require the care of a physician trained in this branch of medicine. Disorders and injuries that cause pain or discomfort in the groin region may also require the attention of such a specialist.

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