AUSTIN, TEX. – Patients in an urban practice were comfortable discussing sexual practices, even less traditional behaviors such as use of sex toys and “hook-up” apps, with their providers, according to results of a recent survey. The survey also found that ob.gyns. often weren’t asking about sexual behaviors at all.
“We wanted to find out what sexual behaviors our patients were participating in, and if their providers were asking them about those behaviors,” said Casuarina Hart, MD, chief ob.gyn. resident at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.
The survey also sought to determine whether patients were comfortable with being asked detailed questions about their sexual behavior, she said at the annual clinical and scientific meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
A total of 207 anonymous paper-and-pencil surveys were completed by patients who attended Mount Sinai ob.gyn. clinics, as well as private practices where ob.gyns. had Mount Sinai affiliations. “Our patients were very diverse,” Dr. Hart said in a video interview. About a quarter were white, a quarter were African American, and one-third were Hispanic. The average age of respondents was 33 years.
Dr. Hart's interview:
In addition to asking about participation in vaginal, oral, and anal sex, Dr. Hart and her coauthors asked about “more interesting sexual behaviors, from the use of sex toys to different ‘hook-up’ apps,” she said.
Among this group of urban respondents, participation in vaginal and oral sex was about at the national average. Anal sex participation, though, was 6%-8% higher than the national average, said Dr. Hart. This difference is important, she said, because there is “different screening and counseling for those patients.”
When Dr. Hart and her colleagues looked at the next phase of the survey, they found that fewer than half of patients said that providers were asking about sexual behaviors – and only about half were asking about condom use. When it came to being asked about participation in anal sex and oral sex, about one in five patients reported that their providers had broached the topics.