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January 17, 1966

Sex and the Practicing Physician

Author Affiliations

From the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC. Dr. Sheeley is now at the Arizona State Hospital, Phoenix.

JAMA. 1966;195(3):195-196. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100030089023

Since ancient times and before, people have turned to the family physician for help with problems affecting their sex lives. Although they may not say so unless he encourages them, they expect his help to understand the perplexing and often terrifying emotions which they feel in themselves and observe in others. Parents ask him to explain to an adolescent son "the facts of life" of which they themselves are not too sure even after years of marriage. Or the son himself haltingly asks the doctor to explain the alarming things going on in his body and in his thoughts. Couples bring to him problems blighting their marriage bed. Other people question him about fears that they are perverted, weak, or diseased.

These sexual problems are often not as simple as they seem. They may be but the overt show of many hidden conflicts. The complexity of these problems is not

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