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Why don't healthcare professionals talk about sex?: a systematic review of recent qualitative studies conducted in the United Kingdom

Dyer, Kerry; das Nair, Roshan

Authors

Kerry Dyer

Roshan das Nair roshan.nair@nottingham.ac.uk



Abstract

Introduction

Sexuality is considered to be an important aspect of holistic care, yet research has demonstrated that it is not routinely addressed in healthcare services. A greater understanding of this can be achieved through synthesizing qualitative studies investigating healthcare professionals’ experiences of talking about sex. In doing so, policy makers and healthcare providers may be able to better address the sexual issues of service users.

Aim

To gain an in-depth understanding of healthcare professionals’ subjective experience of discussing sexuality with service users by identifying the factors that impede and facilitate such discussions.

Main Outcome Measures

Review of healthcare professionals’ experience of discussing sexuality with service users.

Methods

Electronic databases and reference lists of published articles were searched in July 2011. Primary research studies were included in the review if they explored health professionals’ experiences of discussing sexuality with adult service users, used qualitative methods, and were conducted in the United Kingdom over the last 10 years. Each study was reviewed and assessed. A secondary thematic analysis method was used where key themes were extracted and grouped and key concepts were explored.

Results

Nineteen interconnected themes emerged relating to healthcare professionals’ experience of discussing sexuality with service users, including fear about “opening up a can of worms,” lack of time, resources, and training, concern about knowledge and abilities, worry about causing offense, personal discomfort, and a lack of awareness about sexual issues. Some themes were particularly marked relating to the sexuality of the opposite-gender, black and ethnic minority groups, older and non-heterosexual service users, and those with intellectual disabilities.

Conclusions

The majority of healthcare professionals do not proactively discuss sexuality issues with service users, and this warrants further attention. An understanding of the perceived barriers and facilitators indicates that interventions to improve the extent to which sexuality issues are addressed need to take organizational, structural, and personal factors into consideration.

Citation

Dyer, K., & das Nair, R. (2013). Why don't healthcare professionals talk about sex?: a systematic review of recent qualitative studies conducted in the United Kingdom. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10(11), https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02856.x

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 30, 2012
Online Publication Date Dec 16, 2015
Publication Date Nov 4, 2013
Deposit Date Jun 16, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 16, 2016
Journal Journal of Sexual Medicine
Print ISSN 1743-6095
Electronic ISSN 1743-6109
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 11
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02856.x
Keywords Sexuality, Staff, Qualitative research, Literature review, Healthcare system
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/34033
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02856.x
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dyer, K. & dasNair, R. (2013) Why don't health professionals talk about sex? Journal of Sexual Medicine. Vol. 13, issue 11, p. 2658-2670, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02856.x This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/end_user_agreement.pdf





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