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Sexual Health

Importance of Sexual Health

Sexual health is a big part of life. It can affect and is affected by other aspects of health. This includes physical, mental, emotional, and social health. Being in good sexual health means you are well informed, careful, and respectful to yourself and others. It also means enjoying yourself sexually in a way you are comfortable with.

Path to improved health

Before engaging in sexual activity, consider using a form of birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Options include condoms, pills, patches, shots, implants, diaphragms, or intrauterine devices (IUDs). Condoms are the only method that also helps prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Consult with your doctor prior to becoming sexually active. They will discuss safety measures, risks, and prevention strategies with you, addressing any inquiries you may have about sexual health. Additionally, they can prescribe suitable forms of birth control.

Certain medications and health conditions may affect sexual desire or function. Speak to your doctor before using over-the-counter drugs, and discuss any discomfort or side effects experienced during sexual activity.

Effective communication is essential in sexual health. Discuss your concerns and questions with a trusted adult, whether it's a doctor, parent, or guardian. It's crucial to be honest and open about expectations and boundaries with your sexual partner. Avoid succumbing to peer pressure or pressuring others into unwanted activities. Only engage in activities to which both parties freely consent. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, assertively say no, remove yourself from the situation, and confide in someone you trust for support and assistance.

If you've been diagnosed with an STI, inform your sexual partner(s) as they may be affected. Remember, the more sexual partners you have, the higher the risk of contracting an STI. Prompt treatment can alleviate symptoms and prevent long-term complications associated with untreated STIs.

Things to consider

As you age, it's natural for your sexual health to undergo changes. To maintain well-being, it's important to regularly reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and emotions regarding sexuality. This proactive approach helps prepare you for sexual experiences.

Managing your sexual health shouldn't be done in isolation. It's crucial to engage in conversations about sexual health with trusted individuals in your life. These discussions can involve exploring what constitutes safe practices and understanding the risks associated with certain actions. It's essential to grasp the concept of consent and feel empowered to assert your boundaries.

If you suspect pregnancy, have concerns about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or have experienced abuse, seek assistance promptly. A medical professional can conduct tests to confirm pregnancy or STIs, provide information, and discuss available options. In cases of abuse, medical professionals can perform necessary tests, offer treatment, and provide referrals to legal support. Seeking counsel from a therapist can also offer emotional support during challenging times.