Peace of mind. A satisfying sex life. Avoiding sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. These are just some of the many benefits to maintaining good sexual health. Being sexually healthy is about more than just sex; it is about being able to enjoy a healthier body, positive relationships and the freedom to enjoy your sexuality. Being able to talk freely about sexual health with your partner and doctors is crucial to your overall health.
Learn about your body, and protect it.
Learning how your body works will allow you to express yourself sexually. This includes choosing a contraceptive that works for you and your partner. While condoms can prevent both STIs and unplanned pregnancies, while other contraceptives only prevent pregnancy.
Build positive relationships
Having open and honest conversations about your relationship, desires and sexual health will strengthen your relationship and connection with your partner. Respect each other and make decisions together, and if health problems arise, make sure to discuss them openly and seek medical care. In the event that your partner is violent or pressures you, seek help from your GP or an organization that addresses intimate partner violence.
Make sexual health part of your health care routine
If you are going for a check-up with your GP, make sure to have an open conversation about how to stay healthy, as well as any other issues that affect your sexual health including sexual performance, recommended services or any other questions you may have.
Value who you are and what is right for you
Sex is a completely natural part of life; it can bring you intimacy, pleasure and joy; however, it is up to you to decide if and when you choose to have sex. First, think about what you want from your sexual relationship, define your personal values, desires and boundaries. These may change throughout your life, and it is ok for you to reassess what you want from your sex life as you get older.
Maintain your self-esteem and self-worth
Sexually healthy people have an acute appreciation of their own bodies, and allow themselves to experience pleasurable sensual and sexual feelings without feeling any shame. Feeling confident in your sexual identity, orientation and an understanding of who you are will allow you to grow as a person and feel joy in the sexual experiences of their choosing. To gain this sense of self-worth, it is important to have the capacity to nurture yourself and to accept nurturing from others, and allow yourself to be vulnerable.
If you have any questions about your sexual health, you can contact your GP or a sexual health provider.