Trigger warning: This article talks about sex and includes mentions of sexual assault.
We’ve spent our whole lives hearing about physical wellness; eating right, exercising, etc. We’ve been hearing more about mental health and its importance as time has been going on too. But what’s one topic that often gets left out of the conversation? Sexual wellness.
Sexual health is a state of well-being in regard to your sexuality. It involves a positive relationship with sex and encourages pleasurable, safe and consensual sexual activity. Practicing sexual wellness involves ensuring that your needs are being met and not viewing sex as something that is shameful. A big aspect is simply educating yourself; know and understand your birth control options, the different types of sex toys and positions, and how to protect yourself against STIs.
Sexual wellness should be practiced by everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. It is important to know the risks of various types of sexual contact, or even things like how to care for your sex toys. If you choose to be abstinent, go you! But you should still know and understand sex so that you can know what to expect, or so that you can support your friends.
A key aspect of sexual wellness is pleasure and how to achieve that for both yourself and, if applicable, your partner. The female orgasm is considered a myth by some, and it definitely wasn’t covered in sex ed, but it’s worth checking out. Sex shouldn’t be painful, and it definitely shouldn’t be painful or unbearable every time. If it is, you should talk to your gyno. I promise, they WANT to know and are not going to judge you. Recurring pain during sex could be a sign of a disorder like endometriosis. This is why it’s important to know and understand sexual wellness; you need to know your body in order to know what’s healthy. In addition, if your partner isn’t giving you the attention you deserve and leaving you unsatisfied, that is not normal and it may be helpful to communicate with them about your needs.
In a conversation about healthy sex, it is important to recognize that consent is required for sex to occur, and it needs to be clear, conscious, willing and uncoerced. If you suspect that you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call USCPD at 803-777-4215 at any time and ask to speak to a SAVIP advocate, or you can walk into the Thompson center during business hours to get assistance. They also have an anonymous tip line that can be found here. If you want to chat with a sexual health expert or pick up safe sex supplies, you can visit the sexual health office on the 1st floor of the Center for Health and Well-Being.