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The "New View" Approach to Women's Sexual Problems

Authors: Author: Karen M. Hicks, PhDFaculty and Disclosures



Physicians and other healthcare providers are increasingly being called on to play a new role in dealing with men and women's sexual problems. In the past 5 years, new biomedical and pharmaceutical approaches to sexuality problems have emerged and more are in development. There is a risk, however, that an overemphasis on such approaches will fail to address patients' fundamental problems with their sexuality and sexual relationships and perhaps medicalize our approach to problems in human sexuality to an extent that will prove unhelpful and possibly harmful. Indeed, when it comes to women's sexual health, it has been argued that female sexual dysfunction "is the freshest, clearest example we have" of a "corporate-sponsored creation of a disease." [1] It is thus imperative that clinicians who are called upon to treat women's sexual problems attempt to develop a sophisticated approach that brings to bear the relevance of the psychosocial, sociocultural, and socioeconomic contexts of human sexuality and sexual problems as well as an understanding of the physiologic and biological aspects. One such approach has been developed by a group of clinicians, sex therapists, and social scientists in response to what they see as a growing medicalization of sexuality in clinical settings, particularly within urology. The purpose of this CME program is to familiarize clinicians with their "New View" approach [2] to treating women who present with sexual problems. The foundation of the approach is the consideration of the relational and sociocultural factors that contribute to women's expressions about their sexual problems.

This CME/CE Clinical Update is organized around 5 major themes:

  1. A review of the concept of normative sexual function and the classification of sexual dysfunction as developed by the sexologic community over the past 40 years;

  2. The introduction of the New View approach to women's sexual problems;

  3. A discussion of the role of the clinician in treating women's sexual problems and specific recommendations that aim to enhance a clinician's ability to attend to women's sexual problems, including a chart that highlights diagnostic and treatment strategies;

  4. Presentation of interactive case studies; and

  5. The provision of supplementary materials and information for further learning for the clinician and the patient.
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