A good sexual history covers many of the same topics for both female and male patients. In both sexes, it is important to ask about sexual interest, arousal, satisfaction, quality of relationship, mood, pain, and the effects of illnesses, medications, and surgeries.
Medications are especially important, in part because studies show that seven in 10 Americans take at least one prescription drug, and hundreds of drugs, including many for blood pressure and depression, have sexual side effects.
Some doctors tend to assume that their patients are sexually active, but this is often not the case. Broadly speaking, it is important to know why a patient is not sexually active, or if they are, with whom they are having sex and what kind of sex they are having. For one thing, such information can be crucial in addressing concerns around birth control and sexually transmitted infections. It also provides a foundation for addressing other aspects of the patient’s health.
It is important to know not just what the patient is doing but how the patient feels about it. For example, some people who are not sexually active are not troubled about it. It is also important to know how partners are reacting to any problems patients are experiencing, as well as to inquire if partners are experiencing sexual problems. In most cases, sexual difficulties adversely affect two people.