Sex: all consuming or incidental, pleasurable or painful, joyous or traumatic, procreative or recreational, consensual or criminal – nothing else plays such a protean role in our lives. Working in the area of O and G gives us the opportunity and responsibility to include sexual function within the healthcare service we provide to our patients. Sometimes we imagine that questions about sex are too personal or fear causing damage by bringing latent fears to the surface. But if we don’t ask the question then some women will never realise that their pain can be treated or that other people share their experiences. For some women sex has been traumatic. Violence and abuse are a tragic, but real, part of many women’s lives. We don’t help these women by conveniently omitting that part of our history taking; we help by asking the questions. We ask them with support and without judgement. If we do this often enough and carefully enough then perhaps we will help some women who wouldn’t volunteer the information without our prompting.
In this issue of O&G Magazine we have articles covering a wide range of sexual issues. Michael O’Connor provides an excellent article on sexual assault, referring to RANZCOG’s Response to Sexual Assault module, available from the College website. Thierry Vancaillie provides an article outlining a multidisciplinary approach to vaginismus, while Stephanie Brown discusses sex after childbirth. We hope that you find this issue of O&G Magazine useful and that it sheds light on what is sometimes a lessilluminated part of our profession.