Dealing with female sexuality: training, attitude, and practice of obstetrics and gynecology residents from a developing country

Teresa Cristina Souza Barroso Vieira, Eduardo de Souza, Ivaldo da Silva, Maria Regina Torloni, Meireluci Costa Ribeiro, Mary Uchiyama Nakamura
Journal of Sexual Medicine 2015, 12 (5): 1154-7

INTRODUCTION: There is little research on how obstetrics and gynecology (Ob/Gyn) residents deal with female sexuality, especially during pregnancy.

AIM: The aim of this study was to assess the training, attitude, and practice of Ob/Gyn residents about sexuality.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of Brazilian Ob/Gyn residents enrolling in an online sexology course was conducted. A questionnaire assessed their training in sexuality during medical school and residency and their attitude and practice on sexual issues during pregnancy.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Training, attitude, and practice of Ob/Gyn residents regarding sexuality were the main outcome measures.

RESULTS: A total of 197 residents, from 21 different programs, answered the online questionnaire. Mean age was 27.9 ± 2.2, most were female (87%), single (79%), and had graduated in the last 5 years (91%). Almost two-thirds (63%) stated that they did not receive any training at all and 28% reported having only up to 6 hours of training about sexuality in medical school. Approximately half of the respondents (49%) stated that they had received no formal training about sexuality during their residency up to that moment and 29% had received ≤6 hours of training. Over half (56%) never or rarely took a sexual history, 51% stated that they did not feel competent or confident to answer their pregnant patients' questions about sexuality, and 84% attributed their difficulties in dealing with sexual complaints to their lack of specific knowledge on the topic.

CONCLUSION: The vast majority of Brazilian Ob/Gyn residents enrolling in a sexuality course had little previous formal training on this topic in medical school and during their residency programs. Most residents do not take sexual histories of pregnant patients, do not feel confident in answering questions about sexuality in pregnancy, and attribute these difficulties to lack of knowledge. These findings point to a clear need for additional training in sexuality among Brazilian Ob/Gyn residents.

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