1.1 Introduction

Patients may well have somewhat ambivalent feelings about discussing sexual problems. On the one hand, they welcome the fact that there is an expert who may be able to offer a solution. On the other, they do not look forward to the long process which must be undertaken to arrive at the desired result. For many people, talking about sexuality in general is difficult enough, let alone talking about one’s own problems. The prospect of a physical (sexological) examination is also likely to raise mixed feelings. It is the professional’s task to tackle this problem, and the simplest way of doing so is speak frankly and openly from the outset. The patient should be reassured about those aspects of the procedure which are known in advance. By making clear that all relevant matters will be discussed, albeit in brief if the patient so wishes, the care provider is creating a structure and thus strengthening interpersonal contact. A doctor who wishes to take a full sexual history (see Table) must first take time for a proper introduction, including a personal introduction and a proposal for the diagnostic procedure. During the introduction phase often already a number of simple tips and tricks can be provided. Even relatively simple information about sexuality proves both necessary and extremely useful. Moreover, this legitimizes the patient to have sexual problems.