Victoria CullenComment

How re-visualising data can help with decisions (especially the sex-based ones)

Victoria CullenComment

I've stumbled upon the phrase 'dramatically increasing understanding' in the book "Risk Savvy" by Gerd Gigerenza. He makes this point in connection to the impact visualisations of cancer-related statistics have on patient decision making (we are better at correctly interpreting frequencies as opposed to probabilities). 

Healthcare Imperative: Present new information in the easiest possible way to ensure understanding.

The mission of 'dramatically increasing understanding' within a field is pretty fantastic really. Often without realising it we rely on being delivered information and data ways that our brains digest easily. But what ways of presenting information are truly 'brain-friendly'? 

Gigerenzer has many examples from choosing a bank loan to deciding on whether your child should have an X-Ray. Sub-optimal decisions usually derive from sub-optimal information delivery. The study of how we grasp a concept and get to a truth quickly by manipulating presentation seems very important, especially in an age of overwhelming amounts of information and data. 

Now comes the bit of the blog post where I insist this is all actually to do with sex. 

Education around intimate decisions need a dose of 'dramatic increase of understanding'. Classic questions I hear from patients and health practitioners include :

"How long before we can have sex after surgery?"

"How many times a week should I be using a pump?"

"Where should I start to get my sex life back on track?"

And honestly, there are many variables at play to tailor the answer to the individual, so right now my mind is still mulling over the best way to visualise the data for helpful decision making!

I've started off with one visualisation at least. This is designed to help with lube choice. This is particularly helpful for health professionals talking with patients experiencing vaginal dryness.

If you would like a copy of this sent to your email as a PDF for printing out, please email me at

I help men after prostate cancer treatment recover and adapt to sexual function changes. I am a PhD researcher and sexual recovery consultant based in Melbourne, Australia,