Gynaecologists and obstetricians aren't doing a great job when it comes to talking about sex in the consultation room, which means many women are left with unresolved problems, according to a recent study.
Researchers found that less than half of those obstetricians and gynaecologists in the US routinely asked their patients whether they suffered any sex problems.
Looking at past studies surrounding female sexual dysfunction, the researchers highlighted that approximately a third of all women of child-bearing age reported experiencing some difficulty when having sex, including pain, lack of desire or pleasure.
Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, who is heading up the research, told LiveScience that women are typically anxious to bring up their issues in case their doctor feels uncomfortable or dismisses their issues. So, it's up to doctors to make the first move.
Surveying more than 1150 practising physicians the researchers asked them to list how often they brought up and discussed sexual pleasure, problems, orientation and activity with their patients.
Only 40 percent said they were routine about asking patients about any sexual problems, while only 28.5 percent asked patients whether or not they were sexually satisfied. This was even though 63 percent of doctors answered in the affirmative when asked whether they looked at patients' sexual activitied.
Around 25 percent of the doctors admitted that they had expressed disapproval when their patients shared their sexual activities with them, a fact which might further exacerbate reluctance to share with doctors on behalf of patients.
This percentage of doctors was either foreign medical students or ones who had expressed a strong religious beliefs.
While less than a third of doctors brought up sexual orientation with their patients, it was those doctors over 60 years of age and above who were least likely to ask about it.
Those gynaes who spent more time working in gynaecology rather than in prenatal care were also more likely to delve into sexual problems with patients.
Lindau's team researcher, Janelle Sobecki thinks that the silence by doctors may be attributed to a lack of training in the area of female sexual problems. "Like patients, physicians may worry that raising the topic could offend or embarrass the patient."
The result is a vicious circle which fails to address a serious issue: a lack of understanding and education for adults on sex.
Lindau makes it clear: communication is key. So whether you are the patient or the doctor, don't hesitate to bring up sex and talk about those issues that trouble you. "If you have a doctor you trust who has not brought this topic up, give it a try."