Sex Education Quiz for Physicians

Sex Education Quiz for Physicians

Source: Human Sexuality: Notes for Physicians; California. Board of Medical Quality Assurance. Division of Licensing. [Sacramento, CA]: The Board, 1980.

In the late 1970s, the California Board of Medical Quality Assurance, Division of Licensing was directed by the State Legislature to consider the inclusion of human sexuality courses in the continuing education requirements for physicians. In 1980, the Division came up with a quiz designed to test physician knowledge of common sexual myths. Here are some sample questions. How many can YOU get correct?


Many physicians consider themselves knowledgeable on sexual matters, yet myths abound. You are invited to take the following quiz which is designed to test your knowledge of some common myths.

  1. Research has proven that coition deaths due to cardiac arrest occur most often during or just after extramarital intercourse.  T ___ F ___

  2. A common side effect of phenothiazines is retrograde ejaculation. T ___ F ___

  3. Anal intercourse is the most common sexual practice among homosexual males. T ___ F ___

  4. By the nature of the phenomenon of transsexuality, all transsexuals want sex reassignment surgery. T ___ F ___

  5. Worsening physical health and naturally declining interest account for the decreasing frequency of sexual relations among aging persons. T ___ F ___

  6. Patients who report they are happily married and have a satisfying sex life need not be interviewed further about possible sexual dysfunction. T ___ F ___

  7. Masters and Johnson report a success rate of approximately 98% in the treatment of premature ejaculation. T ___ F ___

  8. Except for the major tranquilizers and antihypertensives, very few drugs have been found to have a noticeable effect on sexual functioning. T ___ F ___

  9. Pre-Orgasmic Women's groups successfully help women obtain orgasm through penile-vaginal intercourse. T ___ F ___

  10. Elimination of prostitution will significantly reduce the spread of venereal disease. T ___ F ___

  11. In men 45 years or older, a course of testosterone injections IM can be used to differentiate organic from psychogenic causes of erectile dysfunction. T ___ F ___

Quiz Answers and Explanations

  1. False. Though many physicians have accepted and promoted this contention, it is based on limited data. The study quoted to support the statement (Ueno, 1963) dealt with an extremely small number of cases (34 total cases). The data are also suspect because it is improbable that a legal spouse would publicly admit having a part in a coition death. Research has not proven the statement by any means, and its validity is still suspect. This may be a case of moral factors influencing the interpretation of scientific data.
    Ueno, M. The so-called coital death. Japanese Journal of Legal Medicine, 1963, 17, p. 535.

  2. False.  This is another belief that has not been substantiated in the literature. Only one case of retrograde ejaculation has actually been substantiated (Schader, 1964). Other cases with the same presenting symptom- dry ejaculation- have been used to support the thesis, but this is overgeneralizing the results of one case. Research on other drugs has substantiated a dry ejaculation syndrome without retrograde ejaculation being present. Phenothiazines may represent another case of that syndrome. It should also be noted that Mellaril (thoridazine HC1) is the phenothiazine most commonly associated with this syndrome; other phenothiazine derivatives are rarely known to cause this syndrome. Therefore, retrograde ejaculation or even dry ejaculation are not common side effects of phenothiazine use.
    Shader, R. Sexual dysfunction associated with thioridazine HC1. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1964, 188 pp. 175-7.

  3. False.  Though most gay men probably have tried anal intercourse, it is not the most common. Bell and Weinberg (1978, p. 108) found that the frequency of anal intercourse to be less than that of fellation and mutual masturbation.
    Bell, A. & Weinberg, M. Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979. (Originally published, 1978.)

  4. False.  Some transsexuals either are happy with the results of cross-dressing and hormones or are unhappy with the state-of-the-art of gender reassignment surgery. These individuals rarely make newspaper headlines, and are not seen as often by the helping professions.

  5. False.  Although impaired physical health may diminish sexual activity, the major reasons for lowered sexual frequency are lack of available partners and conformity to cultural stereotypes.

  6. False.  In a study of 100 married couples not in therapy, 80% reported that their marital and sex lives were happy and satisfying, yet 40% of the men reported erectile dysfunction  or ejaculatory dysfunction, and 63% of the women reported arousal or orgasmic dysfunction. Further, 50% of the men and 77% of the women reported other sexual difficulties (e.g. lack of interest or ability to relax) that were not dysfunctional in nature (Frank et al., 1978). In general, specific questions concerning sexual dysfunction yield more clinically useful information than the general questions.
    Frank, E., Anderson, C., and Rubenstein, D. Frequency of sexual dysfunction in "normal" couples. New England Journal of Medicine, 1978, 299, pp. 111-115.

  7. False. This is really a trick question, but also a significant misconception. Masters and Johnson (1970, p. 351) argue that a failure rate is more useful than a success rate in evaluating the outcome of therapy, and never discuss success rates. A nonfailure is not necessarily a success! The distinction suggests the reversal of a sexual dysfunction is relative.
    Masters, W. & Johnson, V. Human Sexual Inadequacy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1970.

  8. False.  Kaplan (1974, pp. 98-101, 295) notes that narcotics, ethanol, barbiturates, anticholinergics, hormones, amyl nitrate, amphetamines, and MAO inhibitors all have been reported to affect sexual functioning. Also note, this data is somewhat outdated and newer information that is still in press will significantly expand this list.
    Kaplan, H. The New Sex Therapy. New York: Brunner Mazel, 1974.

  9. False.  Barbach (1975, p. xii-xiii) reports that 93% of the women attending groups at the UCSF Human Sexuality Program were consistently orgasmic, usually through self-stimulation, by the end of the group. Only about half the women could experience orgasm (not necessarily consistently) with partners three months after the program. This finding points up the importance of masturbation in the development of sexual functioning and the treatment of anorgasmia.
    Barbach, L. For Yourself. New York: Signet Books, 1976. (Originally published 1975).

  10. False.  Female prostitutes account for only 5% of venereal disease cases in America. This was confirmed by J.D. Miller, M.D., Chief, Venereal Disease Branch, HEW Center for Disease Control, in 1972, when he stated, "The United States prostitutes comprise a relatively small part of the overall problem." (James, 1976, pp. 115, 122).
    James, J. Prostitution: Arguments for Change. In S. Gordon & R. Libby (Eds.), Sexuality Today and Tomorrow. Duxbury Press, 1976.

  11. False.  To the best of our knowledge, at the present time testosterone deficiency is an exceedingly rare cause of erectile dysfunction in men, regardless of age. The occasional positive and transient response to testosterone injections are placebo effects. Differential diagnosis of erectile dysfunction is best accomplished through a careful sexual and medical history.