Sexual History

Definition - What does Sexual History mean?

Sexual history is a component of history-taking that involves a doctor asking questions to gather information about the sexual function of a couple in order to evaluate any underlying cause of infertility. In the taking of a sexual history, a couple is questioned about the frequency, timing and the technique of intercourse and any difficulties faces during sex. A well-oriented and detailed sexual history can help the clinician decide the next step in the management of an infertile couple.

FertilitySmarts explains Sexual History

History taking is the first and the most important step in the evaluation of an infertile couple and is followed by physical examination and investigations. A detailed sexual history can even reveal the exact underlying cause for infertility without needing further investigations.

Important information that is often gathered in the sexual history of a female patient includes:

  • Level of sex education
  • Sexual orientation
  • Whether she is sexually active
  • Use of contraceptive methods (pills, IUD)
  • The frequency of intercourse
  • Timing of intercourse in relation to menstrual cycle
  • Methods used to time the intercourse
  • Previously diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases
  • Use of lubricants
  • Douching after intercourse
  • Difficulties during intercourse (pain)
  • Psychological aspects of sexual function (lack of sexual desire, lack of pleasure)

Obtaining the sexual history in a male is equally important for a complete assessment of the couple. In addition to questions that are common for both partners, in the male partner it is important to gather the details such as:

  • Difficulties during intercourse (erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation)
  • History of sexually transmitted infections
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