It isn’t uncommon for people involved in kink to fear disclosing their proclivities to their doctor. What if the doctor doesn’t understand swinging, BDSM, extreme sex acts, or whatever you may be into? What if there are repercussions as a result of that doctor finding out exactly how you got those bruises all over your ass? What if they judge or shame you? What if their biases affect the quality of care they give you?
Many kinksters avoid going in for appointments when they need them most for these very reasons. Put yourself in these shoes: you feel what you think is a urinary tract infection coming on after being the recipient of a spectacular gangbang. Not knowing how to explain what may have contributed to it, you delay going to the doctor hoping the discomfort will clear up on its own. Delaying ends up turning that UTI in a dangerous kidney infection. Remember, waiting on any kind of medical issue can exacerbate it.
This recent article reports that half of all San Fransisco kinksters are not out to their doctors. San Francisco is one of the most kink friendly cities in North America– if half of that community is afraid to disclose their proclivities to their doctors, what are the numbers like in the rest of the country? Probably quite high.
It is important your doctor knows the broad strokes about your kinks especially in the event of injury or infection that results from play. For instance, if you are married and have signs of genital infection, many health practitioners wouldn’t consider an STI a significant possibility. The fact that you are non-monogamous, however, factors in. With that important information, they can test for all plausible causes immediately and find a solution quickly. Or if you received an injury as a result of a rope suspension gone wrong, your doctor has a much better chance of treating you properly when they know exactly how your injury was sustained. Honesty seems like common sense but how should you tell your doctor?
If you do choose to disclose your non-traditional sexual activity, most experts advise you keep it short and sweet but honest. Disclose the proper amount of information that is pertinent to the injury without disclosing every intimate, shocking detail.
There’s a big difference between:
“Well, I’ve been studying the art of Japanese rope bondage and like to combine it with really shocking torture and humiliation scenes. After I had him immobilized in the ropes, I beat and bruised him pretty good. I was then hoping to get this traffic cone part way up his ass. My hands got pretty slippery with lube which caused the ropes to slip and his shoulder popped.”
“We like to experiment with rope in the bedroom and got a little carried away. I tried suspending him and one of the ropes slipped injuring his shoulder.”
“I was being gang-banged and degraded by seven well endowed men. They had me tied to the bed and filled all my holes.”
“I sometimes engage in group sex.”
Be direct, factual, and brief. Use blanket phrases like, “I like it rough, and consensual,” “I have multiple partners,” “we like things kinky,” etc. without divulging every last detail. Also make sure you are confident in your answers and express that your activities are always consensual. Although you are subject to doctor/patient confidentiality, medical professionals are also considered mandated reporters. Meaning, if they discover you are in a dangerous situation they may be required to report it to the authorities. Depending on the state you live in, this may include suspected spousal abuse. Don’t act afraid, uncooperative, or as if you are hiding something.
Luckily, in recent years different kinks and alt sexual practices have become more accepted by the medical community. It isn’t uncommon for new medical students to receive training on this subject. Classes like these are frequently taught in medical schools to make future doctors aware of various forms of alternative sexuality and for them to be able to distinguish between consensual kink and abuse (the powerpoint download class link above is also a great resource to print out and give to your doctor if they have not had this type of training).
What if you disclose to your doctor and they shame you? Then it’s time to find a new doctor. If you belong to an alt sex community online ask on a message board for kink-friendly doctor recommendations in your area. You can also use the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Kink Aware Professionals Di…
What if you disclose to your doctor and they are knowledgeable, accepting, and non-judgmental about your kinks? Then it sounds like you’ve found the right doctor who perhaps won’t become alarmed if you do include a few more details ;)
Please share your stories about dealing with sexuality and medical professionals below in the comments. Have you had positive experiences? Negative ones? What are some strategies that worked for you? By hearing each other’s experiences and advice, it helps us all gain a bit more confidence in talking with our doctors about sex. And the more honest we can be with our doctors, the better care they can give us.
Good advice, I wonder the amount of white lies doctors are told day to day? How many they believe and how many they can clearly see through?
I think telling a doc I was attempting to push a traffic cone up my arse might leave him/her speechless and probably advise me not to do it again
This article caught my attention because I generally HATE my visits to the doctor. I’ve never picked a regular doctor, because I’m yet to find one that I feel totally comfortable with. Sometimes their silence is just as bad as a judgmental comment. We shouldn’t have to feel like we have to tell “white lies” to our doctors!
I’m a family doc and I like this article. We should create a registry of kink friendly doctors
This is really useful! After all, it’s been pointed out that even saying you’re sexually active (or, for that matter, that you *don’t* engage in intercourse) means very little to a medical professional when it comes to establishing STI risk, for example. Specifics are key!