New patients sometimes look at me quizzically when I greet them in the waiting room and introduce myself as a behavioral therapist. After all, if they’re struggling with pelvic pain or discomfort, what’s the relevance of mental health care?
I can appreciate their confusion. So, once we’re behind closed doors in the comfort of our consult room (or currently, the Zoom zone) I explain: “Here at Maze, every patient is assigned a team of both a therapy professional and a clinician…because we know that sexual health concerns are never strictly physiological nor just psychological.” Sure, someone’s condition might skew heavily to one side or the other. But after over 15 years in specialty practice, we know that patients need comprehensive support that addresses both mind and body.
Sexuality is different than any other system in the body. Social constructs and expectations, interpersonal issues, preferences, gender, identity, expression, cultural and religious beliefs – all of these factors make up important pieces to this complex and amazing puzzle. Take that, musculoskeletal system!
Identifying customized care is especially important for women. Why? One reason is that many of us are embarrassed to admit we have a sexual issue. This generates a vicious cycle; absence of discussion = fear, anxiety, anger and shame. Additionally, many women ask for guidance from their doctors and are either incorrectly diagnosed or flat-out dismissed.
It may be weird to bring up Mr. Rogers in a sexual health context, but this quote is very fitting: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.” And we know that talking about what’s happening physically can help you heal more efficiently and holistically.
At Maze, our interdisciplinary team will consult with you to find real solutions and provide you with the care and understanding you deserve. If you are encountering pain, dysfunction, or any other concerns impacting your sexual health, contact us for a free phone consult.