September Is Sexual Health Awareness Month
Taking care of your overall health typically includes eating healthy and staying physically active, but have you taken your sexual health into consideration? While this is still a taboo subject for many individuals, the truth is that sexual health is important for your physical and emotional health. According to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), sexual health is defined as “the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives.” This September, we encourage you to celebrate Sexual Health Awareness Month by taking steps towards achieving your own sexual health.
What is Sexual Health?
Being sexually healthy can mean different things to different people, but it is more than avoiding sexually-transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancies. For everyone, ASHA states that being considered sexually healthy means:
- Understanding that sexuality is natural and involves more than sexual behavior.
- Recognizing and respecting the sexual rights of everyone.
- Having access to information, education, and care for sexual health.
- Actively making an effort to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STDs, and willingly seeking care or treatment when necessary.
- Being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired.
- Being able to communicate about sexual health with others, such as sexual partners and healthcare providers.
Individuals considered to be sexually healthy also approach sexuality and sexual relationships with positivity and respect. They also are able to have pleasurable and safe sexual experiences that are free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.
How to Improve Your Sexual Health
First and foremost, taking charge of your health by routinely visiting your physician for wellness checks is a great place to start. However, there are a variety of things that come into play with sexual health mentally, physically, and emotionally. The National Coalition for Sexual Health provides ways you can improve your own sexual health, including:
- Valuing yourself and deciding what’s right for you. The decision of if and when you have sex is solely yours. While sex is a natural part of life, it is important that the decision aligns with what you want in life, including personal goals, desires, and boundaries, all of which may change depending on your stage in life.
- Be educated about your body and keep it protected. Understand your own body’s functions and don’t be afraid to explore ways you can express yourself sexually. Always, practice safe sex to protect against STIs/STDs and unplanned pregnancies.
- Treat partners with respect, and expect that respectful treatment in return. Be with someone who makes you feel good about yourself, as well as comfortable and safe. Any boundaries should be respected, and no one should feel pressured or forced into doing something they aren’t comfortable with.
- Build positive relationships. Participating in open and honest conversations about your relationship, desires, and sexual health will help you and your partner build respect for one another, as well as make decisions together. Any health problems should be discussed openly and you should feel comfortable seeking medical care. If you find yourself with a partner who is violent or pressures you into things you aren’t comfortable with, seek help from your healthcare provider or a community organization right away.
- Ensure sexual health is part of your regular healthcare routine. Start with a provider who is respectful and makes you feel comfortable, as it will allow you to feel more at ease having otherwise difficult conversations. You should be able to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding your sexual health, including performance and function.
Take Control of Sexual Health
When you’re ready to take control of your sexual health, visit the medical professionals at Midwest Express Clinic. We are prepared to help answer questions and provide treatment with respect. All of our locations offer women’s health services, easy and discreet lab testing, wellness exams, and much more, with no appointment necessary. Don’t wait any longer – now is the time to take control of your sexual health.