Helplines are common counselling services for men and women seeking advice for health, psychological and sexual problems. With the advent of the social media era, users have now more possibilities to search for information about sexual health than before. Comparing the recent data of a long-standing telephone counselling service on sexual health by the Institute of Clinical Sexology of Rome, we aimed to investigate the range of sexual concerns reported by users, to describe the differences, if any, between male and female callers, and the changes in contents and usage in the last years. The study included selected records of the calls received during the 8-year period between 2010 and 2017 (n=1865). Users were more often men than women (respectively 1253 vs. 612), aged between 26 and 45 years, medium to high education, employed, and who had not sought any previous help for their sexual concerns. The most frequently reported reasons to call were “male sexual dysfunctions” and “relational problems”. Comparing with previous data, a decrease of requests about specific sexual dysfunctions and sexual general information is noted. Moreover, some gender peculiarities are reported, and the counsellor actions to the user request are analysed. Although the service registered a decrease of calls in after the social media spreading, in the last years a new increase of calls and a switch in requests’ contents has been showed. Telephone counselling is still an important and effective resource to elicit requests that otherwise might remain hidden; therefore, it can be a useful link between health-care system and callers.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Helplines, Counselling, Sexual assessment, Sexual concerns, Social media, Telephone
|☆|| La version en français de cet article, publiée dans l’édition imprimée de la revue, est disponible en ligne : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sexol.2018.05.005.