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Advancing sexual medicine through collaborative European efforts: Breaking the silence

Sexual health is a complex matter that affects individuals at different stages of life. Issues like low sexual desire, premature ejaculation, and discomfort during intercourse have wide-ranging impacts, extending beyond the bedroom. Dealing with these concerns involves not only addressing medical aspects but also considering psychological and relational factors. Moreover, the influence of media on attitudes towards sex among younger generations highlights the importance of educating people to critically assess media messages about sexual behaviors.

To address these issues, the European Sexual Medicine Network (ESMN) was established, bringing together experts and researchers across Europe. Through collaboration, ESMN aims to standardize practices, share resources, and advocate for policies that support sexual health. Dr. Marianne Greil-Soyka, Chair of ESMN, emphasizes the network’s role in breaking the silence surrounding sexual health issues.

ESMN facilitates collaboration between medical professionals and social scientists to develop innovative approaches to global sexual health. By organizing conferences and workshops, ESMN fosters cooperation to understand sexual function and dysfunction better, leading to the development of diagnostic tools and therapies. Ongoing projects, such as the collaboration between Turkey and Serbia, explore new avenues to gain insights into sexual health disorders.

In addition to medical aspects, ESMN advocates for addressing social and cultural factors that impact sexual health and pleasure. Collaborating with organizations like the World Association of Sexual Health, ESMN seeks to establish Sexual Medicine as a distinct field of study. The network prioritizes inclusivity, with subgroups focusing on disability and LGBTQ+ issues, and actively promotes sexual health for diverse populations.

ESMN is also involved in education and research initiatives. It has developed a sexual health curriculum for medical students and health professionals and created online courses to promote comprehensive sexuality education. Furthermore, ESMN supports interdisciplinary research in sexual health through platforms like the Open Research Europe Gateway ‘Sexual Health and Sexual Medicine’.

In clinical practice, ESMN addresses sexual issues in oncology care and supports early career researchers through various programs. Looking ahead, ESMN aims to lobby for the establishment of sexual medicine as an independent discipline and continue its work beyond its current support, establishing itself as a leading authority in sexual medicine teaching, research, and scholarship.

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