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March 1984

The Sexual History in General Medicine Practice

Author Affiliations

From the Evans Memorial Department of Clinical Research and Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine (Dr Ende and Ms Rockwell), and the Department of Socio-Medical Sciences and Community Medicine (Ms Glasgow), Boston University School of Medicine, Boston.

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(3):558-561. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350150162036

Sexual problems have long been considered part of medical practice. Sigmund Freud's work,1 in the early part of this century, set the course that led psychiatry, and then medicine and surgery, to become highly involved with problems of sexual functioning. Recent studies,2,3 however, show that practitioners often neglect the sexual history. The sexual history should be considered part of the routine data base: (1) if the prevalence of sexual dysfunction is high, (2) if the sexual history itself is appreciated by patients and helpful to physicians, and (3) if the problems that are discovered are treatable. There is considerable information on the favorable outcome of therapy for psychologic and organic sexual problems.4-8 Little is known, however, about the prevalence of sexual problems in the general medicine population or about the attitudes of physicians and patients concerning the sexual history. The findings of this study show that patients

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