Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have numerous
clinical opportunities to consider the personal developmental histories
and the current individual and relationship psychology of their
patients. The presentation of any sexual difficulty provides clinicians
with such opportunities. Although most of our patients do not seem
to initially appreciate it, sex is about many subtle yet vital things. It
is about the unique unfolding of the individual self, the ability
to be psychologically intimate, the capacity to give and receive
pleasure, the capacity to love and be loved, and the ability to
manage the expected and unexpected changes throughout adulthood.
Patients often expect mental health professionals to be knowledgeable,
skillful, and interested in addressing sexual concerns. This section
provides a background for clinicians to enable them to grow into
their patients' expectations.