4 reasons it's hard for GPs to talk about sexual health with older patients

Many feel their patients 'either did not have sex or were not interested in addressing it', say researchers

GPs find it difficult to broach the topic of sexual health with their older patients — in part, because they believe sex is not a top health priority in this age group, researchers say.

Most GPs state it's a joint responsibility to bring sexual health into the consultation, but in practice, nearly all leave it to the patient to raise, according to a study from the University of Melbourne.

“GPs in this study found it difficult to discuss sexual health because of a number of constraints relating to their perceptions that their older patients either did not have sex or were not interested in addressing it,” the researchers write in the Australian Journal of General Practice.

“It is likely that sexual health consultations within general practice would be welcomed by older patients, given this is the setting where most of their other healthcare needs are met.”

Their study is