Members of the LGBTQ+ community experience higher rates of various psychiatric disorders and substance abuse disorders as well as different physical and sexual health issues than that of heterosexual people due to stigmas against their sexuality and gender identity. We have made progress in encouraging healthcare providers to treat their gay and lesbian patients with special care, but new studies have shown that bisexual and pansexual women in particular still fear coming out to their doctors.
A study published in 2017 in the journal Culture, Health, and Sexuality with 354 sexual minority women found that while 83% of lesbian-identified and 70% of queer-identified women had disclosed their sexual identity to their health providers, this was true of only 48% of bisexual and 42% of pansexual women, making bisexual and pansexual women 6-7 times less likely to have disclosed compared to lesbian women.
In addition to people who do not identify as straight, people with nontraditional sexual identities and lifestyles such as consensual nonmonogamy (CNM) and BDSM (bondage, discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism) are keeping quiet in the doctor’s office for fear of being judged or misunderstood.
A second study, published in 2016 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine gathered data from 115 kink-oriented San Francisco area residents using focus groups and interviews. Almost half of all participants (44%) had visited a medical care provider for a kink-related concern, and virtually all would have liked to disclose their kink orientation to their provider. Yet, only 38% of those with a current primary care provider were out to them about it.
Read the article in its entirety at Forbes!
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