Doctors should ask men if they are GAY
Should Doctors Ask Male Patients If They’re Gay?
The suggestion may sound crude, or even offensive, but new guidelines suggest that when doctors meet male patients for the first time to discuss sexual health concerns, they should ask whether or not they’re gay.
The belief that underpins the guidelines is that heterosexual men who struggle to perform in bed with their partners may actually be struggling with their sexuality.
The research which led to the new guidelines being issued – which was carried out by the British Society for Sexual Medicine (BSSM) – produced some staggering findings. Among them is the suggestion that the number of British people currently struggling with their sexuality could be as high as 100,000. The 28 page report, which has been sent to every GP in the country, says these people are blaming themselves and their female partners for their inability to achieve erections, or for other sexual issues, when the real reason they find sex difficult is because they’re gay. Because of this, the Society says that it’s no longer ‘excusable’ for sexual orientation to be off the table as a conversation between doctors and their patients.
The guidelines come shortly after the massive controversial announcement from the NHS that they will soon start asking patients for their sexuality as standard practice. The change will occur in 2019, and once it happens, every patient visiting their doctor or going to an appointment in hospital will be asked if they’re straight, gay or bisexual. Many doctors are angry with the change, with responses ranging from finding the question intrusive to believing it to be ‘political correctness gone mad’.
That same anger has welcomed this report. The official response from the Royal College of GPs is less than enthusiastic, and they state that it’s ‘difficult to see’ a reason why doctors would need to directly ask their patients to confirm their sexuality.
Who Wrote The Report?
The senior author of the BSSM report is Geoff Hackett, who is the organization’s former president, and works as a consultant in the urology department of Birmingham’s Good Hope Hospital. Speaking to the Sun newspaper, he said, ‘Some people can be wrestling with their sexuality, and need to be pointed in the right direction. If a man is in a relationship with a woman, and has problems with erectile dysfunction, it might be because they’re in a relationship with the wrong gender’.
Continuing on, he added, ‘They might be able to overcome their issue if they come to terms with this. If you do not get at this problem, you’ll waste a lot of time and ineffective treatment going down the wrong path’.
What Does ‘Erectile Dysfunction’ Mean?
Simply put, it’s difficulty in both achieving and maintaining an erection. Some people refer to it as impotence. The condition is extremely common, and even more so for men over a certain age. Experts believe it occurs to some degree in 50% of all men between forty and seventy years old.
The cause of the problem can be either physical or psychological. Low testosterone can cause physical problems, whilst conditions such as depression can be responsible for psychological triggers. Treatment for the condition focuses on treating the root cause of the issue, regardless of which type it us.
Dr Hackett tempered his advice by warning that doctors should be tactful when asking the question in order not to offend their patients, but some of his critics still weren’t satisfied.
One such critic from the Royal College of GPs is Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, who said ‘There are many reasons for erectile dysfunction, and so it’s essential that parents have a safe space to discuss issues with their GP, whenever they choose to, and In their own time. It is difficult to see how asking every patient unsolicited and impromptu questions about their sexuality is going to build confidence and trust’.
Almost all men, regardless of sexuality, will occasionally struggle to get or keep erections. Frequently, this is down to environmental or lifestyle factors – anxiety, stress, fatigue or too much alcohol can cause problems.
Most of the time it’s nothing to be concerned about, and the problem will go away. However if the issue is prolonged or recurrent, it’s worth a trip to your GP. It can be an indicator of more serious illnesses, like heart disease.
Contact us if you have any further questions or to arrange for an consultation