Sexual health is a broad term that deals with much more than unwanted pregnancies and STDs. It deals with the complete emotional and physical well-being of a person surrounding such topics.
In this article, we will discuss what it means for a person to be sexually healthy. Some of the topics include the importance of sexual health, the consequences of a lack of awareness, and tips to improve your intimate experiences.
What Are the Characteristics of a Sexually Healthy Person?
One of the first ideas we get when we think of a sexually healthy person is the prevention of STD and how they are free from such diseases.
However, a person classified as sexually healthy must be physically, mentally, and emotionally stable to pair with. If not, one of the partners is putting themselves at risk by being vulnerable.
A sexually healthy person is someone who:
- Understands that having preferences is normal and doesn’t feel threatened by people having beliefs or ideologies different from theirs.
- Understands that a person’s sex drive can be implemented into their lives positively and healthily.
- Uses contraceptives, including condoms for the prevention of STD and practices having safe sex.
- Can be intimate without being physical. Examples of such contact include talking about sexual desires and verbally expressing attraction.
- Has the ability to physically express attraction without the contact of genitals such as hand-holding or kissing.
- Sets their boundaries and can respect the boundaries of others. They should also be able to take responsibility for their boundaries and maintain them while being intimate.
- Seeks consent and is comfortable discussing desires and boundaries with partners. They also need to be able to deal with rejections without being violent or feeling insulted.
Why Is Sexual Health Important?
The importance of sexual health cannot be understated. It is essential to have healthy intimate relationships to promote overall well-being.
Below, we discuss the reasons sexual health is important to the overall condition of an individual:
- Social Interactions – You should be able to approach people in your life healthily and positively. Try to promote healthy social interactions in any aspect of life. Being comfortable about your sexuality and expectations from your sex life is a key part of being sexually healthy. Regardless of whether or not you’re having sexual encounters with the other person, you should be able to have a healthy attitude towards the subject in conversation.
Reproduction – You might want to have children someday, or already have them and want another. In any case, it is important to maintain reproductive health so you and your partner can have a healthy child. It’s crucial to know the factors that might influence your reproductive health, and the risks they might have on your well-being.
Contrary to the popular notion, there are still chances that you can get pregnant on your period days. It is simply a myth – a woman can’t get pregnant during her periods. The chances are low, but not equal to zero.
The chances of getting pregnant are high if you have sex in the middle of your menstrual cycle. It is a window that is known as the fertile window. Strangely, the probability of pregnancy before and after this fertile window is very low – but never zero. There are also several factors for additional consideration.
Physical Health – The prevention of STD and other sexual problems is paramount to staying healthy while being intimate. STDs can affect several aspects of your life and can even be fatal such as HIV.
To prevent such diseases, you and your partner should get checked regularly for STDs and use contraceptives whenever you’re having sex. Having a clear knowledge of STDs, such as what prevents them and their symptoms is very important for good sexual health.
What Are the Consequences of Poor Sexual Health?
The consequences of poor sexual health can be the following:
- Contraction of STDs
- Anxiety towards social situations
- Unwanted pregnancies
- Physical pain and fever
- A decline in physical fitness
- Discharge from genitals
How Can Someone Improve Their Sexual Health?
One of the best ways to improve sexual health is to consult a health specialist who is supportive of being intimate. A conversation with a certified professional can help you identify the areas in which you need to improve. This is the best solution because everybody is different, and each individual needs different solutions to their unique problems.
Feel free to consult your physician about any questions related to sexual health as well. They may have an alternative plan tailored to your individual needs.
Some of the standard rules to improve your sexual health are:
- Be more open to other people’s differences and understand that they are entitled to their own choices and preferences.
- Learn about boundaries and adhere to the ones that other people set up. At the same time, lay down your boundaries and be responsible for holding them up.
- Stay physically fit – exercise daily so that your body and mind are in good condition.
- Eat healthy in addition to regular exercise so that you can be healthier overall.
- Get educated about the different ways to express affection that don’t involve penetration or even physical contact.
How to Prevent STDs
Here are five different ways that highlight the prevention of STD and other sexual health concerns that you need to know about when you’re becoming sexually active.
- Avoid having sex with anybody who has rashes, genital sores, or other symptoms of STDs. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of STDs so that you can identify when it is unsafe to engage sexually with another person. The only 100% certain way to prevent STDs is to refrain from having sex altogether. So, if you feel that you or your partner has an infection, try to put sex on the back burner until your doctor confirms it is safe to do so.
Follow proper hygiene before, during, and after sexual intercourse. You should wash before and after a sexual encounter and avoid sharing towels or any other form of underclothing. Know how to clean up after sex.
- Use latex condoms every time you have sex, especially if it is with new partners for the first time. Put the condom on for the entire act. But remember that they are not 100% effective for preventing pregnancies. So, learn how to use them correctly. If you’re using a lubricant, ensure that it is water-based and does not have any substances that might cause allergies or irritate the skin.
- Get tested for STIs regularly, and ensure the same for your partner so that both of you are free from any potential diseases. Also, get a vaccination for hepatitis B. This is delivered as a set of three shots and will help ensure safe sex in the long run. Consult a doctor if you contract an STD and refrain from any sexual activity until your physician approves.
- If you have issues with substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs, consider getting help. People who are regularly intoxicated or are on substances are more prone to having safe sex. Being intoxicated is also one of the ways of inhibiting the performance of your body. So, consider quitting or at least limiting the amount of exposure you have to alcohol or other substances.
We have discussed the importance of sexual health and why it is necessary to work towards better reproductive health for yourself and your partner.
September is the sexual health month. It is critical to know the best sex practices to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Know you’re worth. If a person manifests signs and symptoms, refrain from having an intimate time with that person.
Getting regular exercise and eating healthy can also help you get better cognition. This, in turn, results in a better sexual experience for you and your partner. Try to stay off substances such as alcohol and drugs as they not only inhibit your senses but also hinder your performance. Both the man and woman must be serious about knowing how to clean up after sex. Most importantly, make sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor to get proper medical advice.