Medicalization Of Sexuality

The recent developments in "sexual pharmacology" only reinforced some to warn us about the medicalization of sexual dysfunction and human sexuality in general. We believe that the treatment of sexual dysfunctions/disorders belongs to the realm of medicine. However, we also believe that the "sexual pharmacology" and total medicalization of sexuality does not provide the best understanding of the complexities of human sexuality and is not always in the best interest of our patients.

Bancroft (42) among others cautions just about a few important issues connected to medicalization of human sexuality. He points out that male sexuality has been medicalized for most of the 20th century, and that medical profession has paid more attention to female sexuality lately (interestingly, this increased interest seems to parallel with the increased interest of the pharmaceutical industry in female sexuality).

Bancroft points out that the interface between psychological processes and physiological response, especially in women, is not well understood. He discusses the numerous male-female differences in sexuality. He also asks, "when is a sexual problem a sexual dysfunction," as many times impaired sexual interest or response in women is psychologically understandable and thus rather an adaptive response to a problem in the sexual relationship rather than sexual dysfunction.

Medicalization of sexual dysfunction and human sexuality has been beneficial to some extent in expanding part of our understanding of human sexuality and its impairment(s), and in expanding our treatment armamentarium. However, it also poses dangers in a form of trivialization of human sexuality and secondary suppression of exploring other avenues of our understanding of human sexuality.

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