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Discussing intimacy is relevant to care and recovery

Systemic reluctance to talk about sexuality ignores the therapeutic value of intimate relationships, says Beth Stranks

Systemic reluctance to talk about sexuality ignores the therapeutic value of intimate relationships, says Beth Stranks

During my first placement as a nursing student, I observed a patient’s expression of the need for intimacy being labelled as ‘bad behaviour’ and resulting in sanctions.

It appeared that the therapeutic value of intimate relationships was being ignored. At the time, I recognised only some of the complexity of this issue but the infringement of an individual’s human rights spurred me to investigate further.

I have since explored the research literature, had many discussions with a wide range of nurses and struggled with this issue in my own practice.

‘Think as broadly as possible’

My discovery that this experience is not exclusive to me reinforced my view that practitioners, researchers and policymakers need to explore the inherent difficulties over sexuality in

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