Sexual Health in Undergraduate Medical Education: Existing and Future Needs and Platforms

Alan W Shindel, Abdulaziz Baazeem, Ian Eardley, Eli Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Introduction: This article explores the evolution and current delivery of undergraduate medical education in human sexuality. Aim: To make recommendations regarding future educational needs, principles of curricular development, and how the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) should address the need to enhance and promote human sexuality education around the world. Methods: The existing literature was reviewed for sexuality education, curriculum development, learning strategies, educational formats, evaluation of programs, evaluation of students, and faculty development. Main Outcome Measures: The prevailing theme of most publications in this vein is that sexuality education in undergraduate medical education is currently not adequate to prepare students for future practice. Results: We identified components of the principles of attitudes, knowledge, and skills that should be contained in a comprehensive curriculum for undergraduate medical education in human sexuality. Management of sexual dysfunction; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health care; sexuality across genders and lifespan; understanding of non-normative sexual practices; sexually transmitted infections and HIV, contraception; abortion; sexual coercion and violence; and legal aspects were identified as topics meriting particular attention. Conclusion: Curricula should be integrated throughout medical school and based on principles of adult learning. Methods of teaching should be multimodal and evaluations of student performance are critical. To realize much of what needs to be done, faculty development is critical. Thus, the ISSM can play a key role in the provision and dissemination of learning opportunities and materials, it can promote educational programs around the world, and it can articulate a universal curriculum with modules that can be adopted. The ISSM can create chapters, review documents, slide decks, small group and roleplay topics, and video-recorded materials and make all this material easily available. An expert consensus conference would be needed to realize these recommendations and fulfill them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1026
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Human Sexuality
  • Sexual Health
  • Sexuality Education
  • Undergraduate Medical Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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