Talking with Clients about Sex


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For many in the health professions, talking about sex can be a frightening prospect. Although we live in a world that is seemingly saturated with sex and discussion about sex, really talking about intimate relationships and deeply personal sexual issues prompts fears that Pandora’s box will be opened.

David Bradford and Darren Russell are specialists in the field of sexual health, with over forty years’ combined experience. In their daily work they are continually dealing with sex and sexual problems, and with clients who are concerned about their sex lives. ‘Am I normal?’ ‘Is this the way sex is supposed to be?’ ‘Why don’t I enjoy sex?’ ‘Do I have some sort of sexual disease?’ ‘Why does sex hurt?’ ‘How can I learn more about how to enjoy sex?’ These are some of the many questions that clients ask – if given the opportunity – and they are questions that health professionals should be able to answer.

This book aims to provide professionals with the skills and confidence to talk to clients about sex, to answer questions, and to give good and helpful advice about a range of sexual issues, including how to put the client at ease, difficulties with sexual identity and attraction, sexual function, and medical conditions, relationship difficulties, and a range of other sexual problems that individuals and couples may encounter. Advice for professionals in how to look after themselves is also provided.

All health professionals – doctors, nurse counsellors, community health nurses, school nurses, rehabilitation nurses, rural and remote nurses, sexual health nurses, midwives, nursing aides and carers employed by disability organisations, social workers, allied health professionals, counsellors working for government and non-government organisations, youth workers, telephone counsellors, hostel and nursing home staff, and pharmacists – will find the book useful, as will clergy and church workers.

Author Bio:

David Bradford is a sexual health physician whose first experience of the management of sexually transmitted infections occurred while working as a regimental medical officer in the Australian Army in South Vietnam in 1967-68. After training in surgery in the United Kingdom, he returned to sexual health medicine in the late 1970s. He became Director of the Melbourne Communicable Diseases Centre in 1981, was a founder fellow of the Australasian College of Sexual Health Physicians in 1988, and President of that College from 2000 to 2003. In 1993 he moved to Cairns to head the Sexual Health Service there, and retired from that position in 2004. David wrote the seminal Australian book, VD in Australia in the early 1980s, and has interests in HIV medicine, gay men’s health, and the sexual health of Indigenous Australians. David was awarded an AM in 2006 for services to medicine in the field of sexual health.

Darren Russell is a sexual health physician, and Director of the Cairns Sexual Health Service. He previously worked in Melbourne, where he was a Senior Lecturer in Sexual Health at The University of Melbourne, as well as working as a clinician at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and in private practice. His medical interests include HIV/AIDS, herpes virus infections, men’s health, and the teaching of sexual health.