talkhealth meets... Dr Naomi Sutton
Despite the fact it might feel like a normal and natural part of life, sex is a multi-faceted topic that can be difficult to come to terms with. Particularly if you are living with a chronic health condition. That’s why we are so excited that Dr Naomi Sutton has joined our panel of experts.
Ahead of her first webinar on intimacy and sex, the sexual health specialist answers questions that will prepare us for the event. Scroll down to read about busted sex stigmas, safety at sexual health clinics and great sex reads.
When did you first become interested in sexual health and the issues/topics that surround it?
I did a rotation in sexual health as a junior doctor loved it straight away! I am fascinated by the way our individual culture, history, and education play a role in how we think, talk and ‘do’ sex. I really like that a lot of problems can be eased by an empathetic ear and a bit of understanding of our own thought and bodies. Ultimately, I get a lot of pleasure from helping someone!
Visiting a clinic can be quite daunting but it shouldn’t be! What do you and your colleagues do to make people feel safe and comfortable?
We are friendly, confidential and above all want to help you. We will not judge your behaviours. We might ask questions that seem intrusive but this is to assess how we can help you. Examinations can feel embarrassing for patients but please remember that for us, looking at genitals is the same as an orthopaedic doctor looking at a knee.
How far have we come in breaking the taboos that surround sexual health?
I think we have come a long way but we have a lot more to do to eliminate the myths and stigma that surround sex and sexual health. Proper sex education in schools is fundamental to changing our culture. Children are born without shame, it is a learnt behaviour so, if we can educate and have open conversations from a young age, we can prevent a lot of the strange thoughts and notions we have about sex.
What are is the biggest myth about sex? Can you bust it?
WRONG: Everyone is having wonderful, satisfying sex all the time!
Sex changes throughout your life. Most people will experience changes in the frequency of sex and feelings of enjoyment or desire. Other sexual problems and relationship problems happen too. To some extent, this is a normal part of life. It is how we deal with these things which makes the difference.
Is it difficult to find trusted information about sexual health these days? Why do you think that is?
I think there are a lot of wonderful resources on the internet which have made it easier for everyone to find answers about their health. However, as we have seen throughout the COVID pandemic, myths and untruths are rife. It is very important to make sure that whatever you are reading or listening to comes from a trusted person or site.
Sex can be more tricky when you live with a chronic health condition, what can people do to make life easier?
It obviously depends on what chronic condition you might be living with but I think an important place to start is to consider changing the narrative of what ‘sex’ should be. Sex does not have to be penetration and it also does not have to end in orgasm. Pleasure can be elicited in so many other ways like stroking, kissing, hugging or mutual masturbation.
Gynae health is still neglected these days. What can we do to manage our own sexual health?
I am an advocate for everyone to know their own ‘normal’. If we understand our bodies better then we can understand if something changes, meaning we are more likely to seek timely medical attention when needed.
What are your favourite resources for learning about sex?
I love a good book and would recommend:
‘Curious history of sex’ by Kate Lister – a great read about our past oddities and how our history has formed our society.
‘The Vajenda’ by Jen Gunter – medical facts, feminism and fire!
‘Mind the Gap’ by Karen Gurney – a book about desire and how to keep it going in long term relationships.
If you need extra support for your health, we have specialised men’s and women’s health hubs. Visit the hubs page and find the relevant page for you!
Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. The content however should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands or treatments.
Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 10 February 2022
Next review: 10 February 2025