Sexual Health

Sexual health is an essential part of being human – without it, we would not exist. At Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), we know sex is a key part of health throughout life. We offer sexual health services to help you be happy and healthy and, if desired – pregnant.

Sexual health is more than a physical concern. It’s also mental, social and emotional. Our care team recognizes how sex in all its aspects contributes to your total well-being.

When there are physical and psychological conditions that prevent you from enjoying sex, we can help. Our providers help you feel confident in your sexuality and overcome any barriers that pop up over the course of your lifetime.

Birth control and sex

Sex goes hand in hand with reproduction. If you’re not ready to get pregnant but still enjoy intercourse, your provider offers contraception options:

Hormone-based birth control

The use of hormones can help prevent pregnancy. We offer:

  • Small progestin-only flexible rod implanted under the skin of the arm
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) inserted in your uterus
  • Contraceptive injections that prevent pregnancy for up to 13 weeks
  • Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) that you must take daily
  • Contraceptive patches you replace weekly
  • Vaginal contraceptive ring you wear continuously for three weeks then remove for one week to allow for menstruation

Non-hormonal birth control

We also offer hormone-free contraceptive solutions, including:

  • A custom diaphragm or cervical cap inserted before each sexual encounter
  • Surgical sterilization, to block the passage of eggs and keep you from becoming pregnant permanently

If you wish to avoid pregnancy but don’t want to use any interventions, we also offer family planning services.

Sexually transmitted disease (STD)

While commonly known as STDs, the proper term is actually a sexually transmitted infection (STI). You get these infections through sexual intercourse with an infected partner.

Most of the birth control options we offer do not protect you against an STI. Instead, you should choose a barrier method such as a condom, to protect yourself. Having sex with only one partner (who is also monogamous) decreases your chance of getting an STI.

Common STIs we treat:

The CDC recommends everyone age 14-65 be tested once for HIV, and additional times based on individual risk factors.


Sexual dysfunction

Your OB-GYN providers offer the Sexual Health Office Practice or “SHOP,” which is a clinic run by OB-GYN physicians and advanced practice clinicians who have received special training in sexual dysfunction and sexual health therapies.

We provide guidance when psychiatric medications affect your sexual functioning or interfere with birth control.

For women whose sexual health concerns are related to life changes such as cancer, pregnancy or menopause, we offer both short- and long-term support.

Our specially trained providers work with you to identify the cause and offer treatment options:

  • Hormone replacement therapy to restore hormone levels to normal
  • Medications to treat arousal and desire disorders
  • Psychological counseling to help overcome stress, depression or past trauma
  • Physical therapy to treat any pelvic floor conditions

Using vaginal dilators may be a part of your recommended treatment. SHOP is pleased to provide this dilator meditation created by Alex Milspaw, PhD, for use during this therapy.

Senior sexuality

As we age, our desire may not be as frequent. But older adults can have satisfying sexual encounters. Physical changes that can impact your sex life include:

  • Decreased hormone levels
  • Chronic pain unrelated to sex, but decreases your interest or ability
  • Medical conditions or surgeries causing sexual dysfunction
  • Medications for other concerns interfering with sex drive or response

These changes may cause:

  • Lack of interest
  • Problems with lubrication
  • Reduced sensation or inability to climax
  • Pain

If you want to enjoy sex despite aging, our providers can evaluate what is causing your concern and identify a treatment to help you enjoy sex once again.