Your Comprehensive Guide to Sexual Health
Being vigilant about sexual health is important for any woman. It doesn’t matter if you don’t date much, you have casual sex, or you’re in a long-term relationship. It’s essential to know how to look after your body. Talking about some of these issues can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for many women. But you need to be able to recognize when you have a problem that needs to be addressed. Not only that, but you should know how to prevent some issues occurring. Today, there is a lot of availability of information on the internet. However, many people still reach adulthood lacking in knowledge about sexual and reproductive health. It’s not just that many of us don’t know about the opposite sex, but we don’t know about our own bodies either.
Becoming familiar with how you can be healthy, whether you’re sexually active or not, is essential for any woman. You should know about any worrying signs to watch out for and when to see a doctor. You also need to learn about how to be healthy physically and emotionally when you have sex. Get started with this crash course on how to be sexually healthy.
Caring for Yourself
If there’s one thing that many women can find confusing, it’s how they should care for their vulva. There is a lot of misinformation out there. A lot of it comes from companies trying to sell you a variety of products. The question many women and girls have is what they should use to wash “down there”. If you look in any pharmacy, you will see a number of products intended for “feminine hygiene.” They might include soaps and douches. However, medical experts don’t recommend using these products. They say you should avoid anything scented or perfumed, and there’s no need to use douches. You can use mild soap and warm water to wash around your vulva. The vagina itself has a delicate pH balance and, for the most part, will take care of itself.
Visiting Your Doctor
There are several reasons you might need to see your ob-gyn over the course of your life. They can deal with anything to do with menstruation, contraception or reproduction. Sometimes you’ll see a doctor for something routine, such as a cervical screen. But you might also need to see them if you have a problem. Visiting someone to talk about anything to do with your genitals can be embarrassing. The most important thing to remember is that they have many other patients. Yours isn’t the first body they’re talked about or seen, and it won’t be the last. If you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor, try to find someone who helps to put you at ease.
Dealing with Infections
Even if you’re not sexually active, there are infections you need to watch out for. Although they are often more common for people who are having sex, any woman can get them. The type of infection you’re probably most familiar with is yeast infections. You can usually identify these by unusual discharge or odor. Sometimes called thrush, you can get a yeast infection in your mouth or throat, as well as genitals or skin. Diaper rash is another form of yeast infection. Your doctor can give you an antifungal medication to get rid of it. UTIs (urinary tract infections) are also something to watch out for. One of the things you can do to prevent them is remembering to go to the toilet after having sex.
Other Conditions That Can Affect You
There are many other conditions that can affect your genitals and reproductive organs. They range from vaginal dryness to cervicitis, an inflammation of the cervix. The important thing to remember is that you should see your doctor if you think something could be wrong. That’s why it’s essential to know your own body and to know what’s “normal,” both for you and in general. Although women’s bodies vary considerably, there are still some universal signs of potential problems.
When it comes to sexual health, contraception is often the biggest issue. However, there are many misconceptions surrounding it. Many people have beliefs about how effective different methods are and when they should use them that are incorrect. The first thing to consider is the two reasons for using contraception. The first is to prevent pregnancy. The second is to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. The only forms of contraception that can prevent STDs is condoms and dental dams. Other forms of contraception, which are all for women, will help to prevent pregnancy. But they aren’t a replacement for condoms. It’s always best to use condoms, plus one other form of contraception.
Another important thing to consider is the effectiveness of different forms of contraception. You might see many percentages and other numbers relating to various methods. For example, condoms and the contraceptive pill are often quoted as being highly effective. However, it’s essential to remember the difference between “perfect use” and “typical use.” Perfect use is how the contraception should be used if you follow the directions exactly. Typical use is how they are used in reality. After all, people aren’t perfect. There are some methods of contraception that are more suitable for certain people. For example, some women don’t have the discipline to remember to take a pill every day.
Finding Contraception That Works for You
It’s important to remember that not every woman can use every type of contraception. You might find that certain methods have side effects that are too much for you to handle. Every woman is different, and what works for some won’t work for others. Finding something that’s right for you can be a process that takes a while. Don’t feel like you have to use anything that other women sing the praises of. It’s up to you what you feel comfortable with and not anyone else, including your sexual partners. Just remember always to use a condom.
Can You Always Tell If You Have an STD?
One of the major misconceptions about STDs is that you can always tell if someone has one. Some people assume you can tell by sight, touch or smell. But there are many times when you won’t experience any symptoms. You can’t assume you or any sexual partners are clean unless you’ve been tested. That’s why it’s so important to use a condom. Even if you trust your partner when they say they don’t have anything, you should use protection.
STDs from Other Women
Some people assume that women who have sex with other women can’t contract STDs. Although it is less likely, it is still possibly to pick up something from having sex with another woman. Women who sleep with other women can pass on STDs like herpes, chlamydia, or genital warts. There are several things you can do to be safer. For example, you can be careful about cleaning sex toys, and even using condoms when you use them. Using dental dams, washing your hands and even wearing latex gloves are also recommended.
Testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Many people are unsure about when and even where to get tested for STDs. Some people do it before each new sexual partner. Some schedule one every six months or once a year. You should definitely get tested before and after having sex with someone without a condom. Even if you’ve been with them for a long time and you’re trying for a baby! You can get tested today by finding a sexual health clinic. It shouldn’t take long to do, and will help to give you peace of mind.
Sexual Health and Consent
Being sexually healthy isn’t just about your body. You also have to consider the act of having sex itself. The importance of learning about consent is becoming widely recognized. California has just become the first state to make sexual consent education compulsory for high school students. Sexual consent is both very simple and a bit more complicated. At its core, the rule is only to have sex with someone who has consented. However, some people simplify the issue in the wrong way. It’s important to remember that consent is something that’s given. It’s not something that exists until it’s taken away. Being unable to consent can include being under the influence of drugs or drink. It could mean being asleep or unconscious, or even being too scared to move.
Emotionally Healthy Sex
Healthy sex should be about your emotional health too. It’s essential to consider whether sex is good for your emotional well-being. There are certainly unhealthy ways to have sex. For example, you might keep going back to an ex, hoping they will take you back. You could even have an addiction. Think about whether your sex life makes you happy or if it might have a negative effect on your life.
There are hundreds of resources for education yourself about sexual health. Do some online research and find some books. Or you can visit your nearest sexual health service to find out more.