Taking care of your sexual health

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Most of us know the drill – to be healthy, be sure to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health.  But there is one more dimension that needs to be added for overall good health – sexual health.

If there is one aspect of our health and wellbeing that often gets overlooked, even by doctors, is our sexual health.  When we visit a doctor, they will often ask if we are exercising, eating healthy, and are mentally functioning well.  But asking about our sex life seems to be off-limits.  Why is that?  Sexual health is an essential fact and part of human health.  The only way we arrived here on earth and exist is because of sex.

Because sex is an essential and beneficial part of our existence as humans, everyone has the right to sexual health information and having it addressed whenever we visit our doctors.  Otherwise, how many of us tend to bring up sexual health issues?  Many of us may struggle with the question, “Am I normal?” How well does each of us really understand what the wide range of “normal” is as well as being able to take care of your sexual health and sexual pleasure and that of your partner.

How to increase your sexual health awareness

Having a good basic expectation of what sexual health entails is a good start.  Many people have concerns and worries over their sex lives and are often unsure of what they may be experiencing is natural or not.  Here are examples of aspects of sexual health each of us deserves in be educated about:

·      Basics of sex – Having a good understanding of desire, stimulation, and response regarding sex can improve and enhance sexual health.

·      Reproductive issues – The most basic and fundamental part of sex is related to reproduction.  Both women and men need thorough information on birth control choices preventing pregnancy along with the basics on achieving pregnancy.

·      Bodily changes throughout life affecting sex – Both sexes will have changes occur throughout the course of their lives that will have an effect on their sex life.  For women, it could vaginal dryness making intercourse painful.  For men, erectile dysfunction can put the brakes on a couple’s sex life.  Being educated and aware of these circumstances and how they are treated can be a lifesaver for maintaining an active sex life.

·      Lack of desire – One of the most frequent sources of conflict between couples is the discrepancy in desire – one partner wants sex more frequently while the other has no interest.  Addressing this important part of a couple’s life is vital for keeping the bonds between them strong.

·      Physical and mental changes – From physical impairment to depression, sexual health can be impacted in negative ways that need creative problem solving to safeguard their sexual intimacy.

·      Addressing sexually transmitted diseases – Sexual health education would not be complete without talking about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  Sex can be extremely pleasurable but also risky.  Contracting a STD can result in long-term effects affecting fertility and potentially life-threatening concerns.   All of us should know signs and symptoms of STDs, how to be tested for them, and most importantly understanding the steps necessary to prevent STDs to begin with. 

Who to turn to for help on sexual health

Because of embarrassment or lack of who to talk to, many people will wait a long time before seeking a solution to their sexual health concerns.  It is not unusual that by the time one actually contacts a health professional, the issue has turned into a pressing need.   Addressing sexual health concerns depends on the problem needed to be resolved.  There are many different avenues and variety of health professionals who can help greatly in figuring out and solving sexual issues that arise.  They include the following:

·      Primary care doctors

·      Obstetrician-gynecologist

·      Urologist

·      Physical therapist

·      Mental health professional

The important thing for everyone to know is we each have a right to be educated and informed on our body and how it works.  By taking the right steps to get educated, this can lead to a greater protection of your sexual health preserving it for years to come.