6 Steps To Take For Better Sexual Health
Studies show that there is a correlation between the quality of life and sexual health. Here are six ways to take control of your sexual satisfaction and enhance your sexual experience.
Knowledge is power, especially when it concerns your body and mind. Our society tends to label certain “uncomfortable” topics as taboo. The lack of open dialogue around such “taboo” conversations, like those on sexual wellness, can perpetuate ignorance, stigma, and false beliefs.
Usually, when we talk about sexual health, people often assume sexual health awareness is important just to avoid the risk of diseases. A survey published in the Journal of psychosexual Health, 2022 shows that one out of four sexually active teenagers has sexually transmitted diseases in just the US alone. However, sexual health encompasses more than the prevention of STDs and STIs.
Sexual health awareness enables you to practice sex free from violence and discrimination, with mutual respect, and safety. Here are a few essential pointers to keep in mind:
Consent is Always The First Step
Consent is crucial when it comes to any relationship, whether sexual or emotional. Consent is just not saying yes and no, it goes way beyond that. Sexual consent is about setting boundaries and also respecting your partner’s boundaries. It involved checking in with your partner multiple times, to ensure that you are both on the same page.
To read more on what consent looks like and how to secure it respectfully, understand what consent is and how to establish healthy communication patterns.
Communicating is a Means for Consent That Uplifts Sexual Health
Communicating about your likes and dislikes is as important as establishing consent. It involves, setting boundaries and limits while also letting your partner know how far you are willing to go when it comes to foreplay and sexual intercourse. Communicating is equal parts talking to your partner and listening to your partner.
A recent study published in the Journal of Western Communication collected data from over 300 participants regarding the role of communication during sex. The study concluded that the correlation between sexual satisfaction and communication was high. Also, the communication mediated the achievement of sexual health due to their openness with each other, says the study. Freely expressing your desires and understanding your partner’s needs will not only strengthen your relationship emotionally but also ensure gratification for everyone involved.
Foreplay is As Important As The Main Act
Sex can be painful in situations where an individual is not aroused. A study in the Violence and Gender book clearly outlines how women tend to abstain from sex when the act of coitus begins to hurt due to the lack of arousal. Foreplay is what helps both your mind and body to get into the mood. It paves a way to build arousal and pleasure. Physiologically, foreplay makes the penises and clitorises erect and self-lubricating. These physical changes in the body make sexual friction less uncomfortable and more pleasurable. Emotionally, foreplay builds desire and connection that increases intimacy between you and your partner. Again, communicating your needs as to what kind of foreplay you both prefer can make a big difference in your sexual experience.
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Protection in the Holy Grail of Sexual Health
Protection is a way to take control of your sexual health. Protection during sex is mainly concerned with preventing the spreading and transmitting of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea. However, it also means the smart use of birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Educate yourself about the correct way to use contraception and what you should check before using a condom.
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Know Your Status And Your Partner’s Status As Well
If you have been sexually active, it is important to get regularly checked for sexually transmitted infections. Some sexually transmitted diseases like HIV stay dormant for years. They do not show any significant signs and symptoms until several weeks, months, or even years after you have contacted them. By the time it starts to show you would have unknowingly shared it with someone. Likewise, a partner might share a disease with you. A study published in the International Journal of Public Participation in Health Care and Health Policy, 2015 showed that regular sexually transmitted infection screening and check-ups will drastically reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
Safe Sex is Sexy and Healthy
Safe sexual practices keep you and your partner healthy. It is possible to get pregnant even if you haven’t had vaginal intercourse, and it is also possible to contract a sexually transmitted disease through a sexual encounter. Using condoms or dental dams will prevent sharing a sexually transmitted disease during sex.
You must also pay attention to the products you use during sex, from vaginal washes to lubricants. Using vaginal washes may remove the healthy bacteria living around and in the genitalia, says an article in the Culture, Health, and Sexuality, 2009. These bacterias are critical as they can prevent you from contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
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If you or your partner struggle with lubrication, consider using a lubricant. It is advisable as condoms can tear if you and your partner are not properly lubricated. Also, lubricants prevent skin tearing during sexual intercourse. As we have established now, open skin is an avenue for sexually transmitted diseases.
Another major pointer to pay attention to is to sanitise sex toys before and after use to prevent any fungal infection like vaginal candidiasis from happening.
Habits That Are Hindering Your Sexual Health
Smoking: It’s a no-brainer that smoking has a bad effect on your sexual health because cigarette smoke can damage every part of your body. The chemicals in cigarettes injure the lining of blood vessels, it harms your heart, brain, kidney, liver, and other tissues throughout your body. A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that erectile dysfunction is more likely in men who smoke compared to men who haven’t smoked.
Sleep: A paper in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shows that an extra good hour of sleep in the night increases the odds that women will have more pleasurable sex by 14 per cent. The study also pointed out that the women that lack sleep showed poorer sexual arousal.
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Know more about sexual health by reading through these resources: