Taking Care Of Your Sexual Health
Sexual health is an important aspect of human existence which should be given due consideration, whether it is about how to achieve maximum pleasure or how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted disease. According to the latest statistics released by American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), more than 50% US population is at risk of developing at least one episode of a sexually transmitted infection/ disease at some point of life. Based on the data reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 19.7 million new cases of STI are reported in the United States each year (1).
Here are some basics to improve your sexual health:
1. Learn About Common Sexual Health Issues
In order to achieve optimal sexual satisfaction, while also maintaining a healthy sex life with the partner, it is very important to have a proper understanding of common sexual health issues.
Sex health is a vast arena that encompass topics like sexual desires, loss of libido, problems in penile erection, delayed ejaculation, vaginal dryness (which may occur in women during different stages of reproductive cycle such as menopause or pregnancy) and several other issues. If left unmanaged, these symptoms may interfere with your sex life.
Besides learning about the abnormalities, you should also know about different shades of normal. For example, different phases of sexual cycle such as desires or libido, sexual response, duration of excitation phase etc. vary from person to person (and even in the same person at different point of life).
2. Pregnancy And Reproduction
It is also very important to understand that maintaining adequate sexual health also translates into reproductive health and parenthood. However, often times minor sexual issues alters the quality of relationships and affects fertility. Make sure to discuss your case with an expert in order to make an informed decision. In addition, there are a number of assisted reproductive techniques that are associated with promising results.
3. Protection Form STDs
Besides achieving optimal sexual satisfaction and pleasure it is also very important to know how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases and what to do if you suspect an infection. Every adult, sexually active individual should learn about simple, easily available and reliable birth control methods and STD preventing tools. In addition, speak to your doctor at earliest convenience if you are experiencing symptoms such as burning micturition, pain in the groin or inguinal region, discharge from the genital, rash or unexplained redness/ burning sensation, fever or other related symptoms. If you or your partner lives a risky lifestyle (such as polygamous relationships, history of drug abuse, homosexual relationships etc.), make sure to opt for periodic STD screening exams to detect the infections as early as possible.
4. Managing Sexually Transmitted Infections
Infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia can be managed by a small course of antibiotics, but make sure to maintain abstinence (or engage in protected sex) until your test results comes clear. HIV/ AIDS, herpes are chronic sexually transmitted diseases which may require long term (or life-long) treatments. However, even with treatment, you can still pass on the infection to your sexual partner/s, which is why it is highly advised to always engage in protected sexual encounters.
5. Seeking Help For Intimate Issues
Various clinical and research studies indicates that maintenance of optimal sexual health is directly linked to extended life expectancy and improved quality of life. Usually people feel shy or ashamed about discussing their sexual life problems. Most of the people don’t seek any help and wait for the problems to get solved on their own. If you feel something is not right, immediately refer to a specialist before it’s too late.
If you are experiencing an organic illness or disturbing symptoms, speak to your primary care doctor or urologist. Consultation with a sex therapist is helpful in addressing sexual or relationship issues due to psychological reasons. Often times when a person is under a lot of stress or psychological pressure due to inadequate sexual health/ life, the risk of developing mental health issues increases. In all such cases, help from a mental health expert should be sought to improve the outcomes.
1. Koutsky, L. (1997). Epidemiology of genital human papillomavirus infection. The American journal of medicine, 102(5), 3-8.
2. Satterwhite, C. L., Torrone, E., Meites, E., Dunne, E. F., Mahajan, R., Ocfemia, M. C. B., … & Weinstock, H. (2013). Sexually transmitted infections among US women and men: prevalence and incidence estimates, 2008. Sexually transmitted diseases, 40(3), 187-193.
3. Parsons, J. T., Grov, C., & Golub, S. A. (2012). Sexual compulsivity, co-occurring psychosocial health problems, and HIV risk among gay and bisexual men: further evidence of a syndemic. American Journal of Public Health, 102(1), 156-162.
4. Mustanski, B., Andrews, R., Herrick, A., Stall, R., & Schnarrs, P. W. (2014). A syndemic of psychosocial health disparities and associations with risk for attempting suicide among young sexual minority men. American journal of public health, 104(2), 287-294.