Breaking taboos around sexual health issues in India
It is unusual that India, home to the second most populous population in the world, is also the impotence capital of the world.
“Awkward,” “immoral,” or “uncomfortable” are just a few of the feelings people associate with whenever there’s a conversation about sexual health. With most sexual health-related discussions confined to the bedroom and basic sex education confined to an elementary level chapter in the biology textbook, the only time we hear about sexual health issues is c is through those advertisements discreetly pasted on buses and cars, or in the clinics of ‘gupt rog’ specialists.
So the question remains: are we really doing enough to address issues related to sexual health and wellbeing?
In India, issues related to sexual health have remained largely a secret and taboo subject. Poor sex education combined with a lack of trained specialists means many simply dismiss their poor sexual health and suffer in silence. By extension, many people facing sexual health issues have no choice but to trust random internet sources and charlatans, which can be overwhelming and risky. Thus, many end up self-medicating or receiving inappropriate treatment.
Sexual Health Widely Neglected
Although there has been a boom in conversations surrounding sex and sexuality, discussions of sexual health are still off limits. In fact, sexual problems are much more common than you might think. Premature ejaculation (PE), desire disorders and erectile dysfunction (ED) are commonly reported in men. Nearly 8 out of 10 patients involved in a study reported sexual problems with lack of desire, lack of arousal, pain during intercourse, lack of lubrication, and sex-related anxiety topping the list of reported problems. Not only are some of these sexual health problems and diseases serious, but they are also deeply linked to mental and physical health. Ignoring these issues has been linked to poor family health as well as rising divorce rates.
Of course, people just silence conversations related to sexual health by worrying about how others may perceive them. This, in turn, prevents them from discussing such matters even with close companions like their partners, family or friends. Many even find it tedious to consult a qualified specialist such as a sex therapist.
Digital health clinics to the rescue
A big part of the solution to these challenges is to de-stigmatize and put sexual health issues on the same platform as other physical health issues. Although Indians may be more aware of sexual health issues than before, we also need to be open to conversations. Remember that sexual health solutions involve more than just drug treatment or alternative therapies. It takes a holistic approach. Standardization and problem solving, supported by innovative solutions, are the key to closing the gap.
Since it is difficult to attract patients to specialists, it is important that we provide them with health care. The digital health solutions that have taken hold during the pandemic have played a major role in bringing healthcare closer to patients. They can be cleverly harnessed to fill in the missing gaps in the realm of sexual wellbeing. The digital health ecosystem has the potential to create a sex-positive community that empowers patients to take control of their issues. The focus should be on normalizing sexual health issues by providing personalized, non-judgmental health care at the convenience of the patient. Digital clinics are the way to facilitate authentic and optimal treatment, keeping patient comfort and discretion in mind.
Sexual health issues can have a huge impact on a person’s physical and mental health. Do not hesitate to ask for help and the right treatment.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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