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Ethical Aspects of Sexual Medicine. Internet, Vibrators, and Other Sex Aids: Toys or Therapeutic Instruments?

Authors

  • Emmanuele A. Jannini MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Sexology, Course of Medical Sexology, Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
      Emmanuele A. Jannini, MD, Course of Endocrinology and Sexology, Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, 67100, Italy. Tel: +39 0862433530; Fax: +39 0862433523; E-mail: emmanuele.jannini@univaq.it
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  • Erika Limoncin PsyD,

    1. School of Sexology, Course of Medical Sexology, Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
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  • Giacomo Ciocca PsyD,

    1. School of Sexology, Course of Medical Sexology, Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
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  • Stephanie Buehler MPW, PsyD, CST,

    1. The Buehler Institute, Newport Beach, CA, USA
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  • Michael Krychman MDCM, FACOG, IF

    1. Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine, Newport Beach, CA, USA
    2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
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Emmanuele A. Jannini, MD, Course of Endocrinology and Sexology, Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, 67100, Italy. Tel: +39 0862433530; Fax: +39 0862433523; E-mail: emmanuele.jannini@univaq.it

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Sexual health is the result of a complex interplay between social, relational, intrapsychic, and medical aspects. Sexual health care professionals (SHCP) may face several ethical issues. Some SHCP prescribe Internet pornography for both diagnosis and therapy and some others directly sell vibrators and sex aids in their offices.

Methods.  Five scientists, with different perspectives, debate the ethical aspects in the clinical practice of the SHCP.

Main Outcome Measure.  To give to the Journal of Sexual Medicine's reader enough data to form her/his own opinion on an important ethical topic.

Results.  Expert #1, who is Controversy's Section Editor, together with two coworkers, expert psycho-sexologists, reviews data from literature regarding the use of the Internet in the SHCP. Expert #2 argues that licensed professionals, who treat sexual problems, should not sell sexual aids such as vibrators, lubricants, erotica, and instructional DVDs to their clients. On the other hand, Expert #3 is in favor of the possibility, for the patient, to directly purchase sexual aids from the SHCP in order to avoid embarrassment, confusion, and non-adherence to treatment.

Conclusion.  Evidence and intelligence would suggest that both the Internet (in selected subjects) and the vibrators (in the correct clinical setting), with the due efforts in counseling the patients and tailoring their therapy, are not-harmful, excellent tools in promoting sexual health. Jannini EA, Limoncin E, Ciocca G, Buehler S, and Krychman M. Ethical aspects of sexual medicine. Internet, vibrators and other sex aids: Toys or therapeutic instruments? J Sex Med 2012;9:2994–3001.

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