BrainLine Military

A Service of

Turn off text only

Page Utilities


How Can Healthcare Providers Who Aren't Comfortable Talking About Sexuality and Intimacy Help Their Patients?

How Can Healthcare Providers Who Aren't Comfortable Talking About Sexuality and Intimacy Help Their Patients?


How can healthcare providers who aren't comfortable talking about sexuality and intimacy help their patients?

Click on any phrase to play the video at that point.
[Glenn Parkinson] Well, it's really important to be sensitive to a patient's comfort level when you talk about social health issues. It's really important to keep in mind, too, that there's a variety of comfort within providers themselves. As I've said before, I have been talking about this for a very long time, so I have a high level of comfort. Sometimes even I'm taken aback by someone who feels less comfortable. And it would be really unfortunate for a patient or a family member or anyone who has a question about something and may feel a little bit uncomfortable asking it to ask a provider who wasn't prepared with an answer for them. It doesn't mean that every provider needs to be able to talk about these things. It doesn't mean that they need to be able to go into things. Sometimes providers have their own cultural and also religious feelings about who should be having sex and what that sex should be like, and so it's really important for providers who do have a clear sense of what their own boundaries are related to that to know who within their treatment community would be an appropriate referral for that person, either to give them more detailed medical information about whatever their concern is or to have a more open conversation with them about what the patient's personal choices are and what the patient would want for themselves for their own sense of sexual satisfaction and freedom. So that's really important to keep in mind as well. It's okay for people to have a discomfort with it, but to know that and to have other resources available is the optimal.

show transcriptShow transcript | Print transcript

Click here to see other video Q&As with Glenn Parkinson.

Click here to return to our BrainLine Military Ask the Expert feature.


Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine.

Glenn W. Parkinson, MSW, MAGlenn W. Parkinson, MSW, MA, Glenn Parkinson, MSW, MA works as the psychotherapist on the Traumatic Brain Injury service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She works with active duty and retired military personnel and their families specializing in combat-related injuries.

The contents of BrainLine Military (the “Web Site”), such as text, graphics, images, information obtained from the Web Site’s licensors and/or consultants, and other material contained on the Web Site (collectively, the “Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for medical, legal, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Specifically, with regards to medical issues, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Web Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. The Web Site does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Web Site. Reliance on any information provided by the Web Site or by employees, volunteers or contractors or others associated with the Web Site and/or other visitors to the Web Site is solely at your own risk.


There are currently no comments for this article


BrainLine Footer

Javascript is disabled. Please be aware that some parts of the site may not function as expected!