Get the Facts About Sexual Health and Wellness
By Julie Steinbeck
Few topics generate as much instantaneous controversy as sex. From the act of coitus itself to theories and beliefs surrounding sexual attraction, gender identity, and reproduction, there’s seemingly plenty of room for argument and debate.
When you think about it, all this hype is a bit much. For one thing, sex is rooted in natural urges and desires. Leave it to humans to turn an ordinary part of life into a controversial hassle.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. While there’s still plenty of caution and concern regarding sex and reproduction, these matters are mostly to do with health and wellness rather than sin and shame.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at five facts about sexual health and wellness:
There’s no such thing as normal
Nobody should ever feel compelled to alter their sexual preferences. Unless you are causing harm or trauma to another person, your kinks and tastes are perfectly acceptable. Browsing an online sex toy store or having desires to play dress-up in the bedroom are nothing to be ashamed about. When it comes to sex, there is no such thing as “normal,” and everyone’s tastes are different.
Libido goes up and down
While sexuality is something people should embrace rather than conceal, that doesn’t mean everyone should be walking around in the mood all day long. You’re not a freak simply because you aren’t feeling aroused. Libido goes up and down, and that’s not unusual. Don’t ever feel pressured to participate in sexual activity simply because it seems like the right thing to do. If you aren’t in the mood, politely inform your partner of that fact. If they care about you, they will respect your feelings and put their own desires in check for the time being.
STIs are still a threat
The development of game-changing vaccines and revolutionary treatments for dangerous sexually transmitted infections has many people thinking the days of dying from unprotected sex are over. While it’s true those infected with HIV rarely die from AIDS anymore if properly treated, and the HPV vaccine is helping to lower the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, these and other STIs remain an ever-present threat to sexual health and wellness. For instance, new strains of gonorrhea are proving to be resistant to antibiotics. With this in mind, it’s essential for those with multiple sexual partners to wear protection. Those in relationships should also consider using condoms until both partners can provide each other with test results indicating they are free of disease.
Contraception is safe and effective
The one controversial aspect of sex that remains mostly justified is concern over unwanted pregnancies. Also known as Plan B or the morning-after pill, emergency contraception is a safe and effective way to reduce the chances of pregnancy. Claims that using emergency contraception makes it harder to become pregnant later are unfounded. With that said, Plan B should be used as a last resort due to the pain and discomfort associated with its effects.
An active sex life could mean a longer lifespan
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding sexual health and wellness has to do with age. We tend to think sex is for young adults and that older people are less able or interested in having sex. Not only is that untrue, but there’s also evidence to suggest that having sex helps us live longer. For one thing, sexual intercourse serves as a form of exercise. What’s more, having sex on a regular basis makes life worth living for those who may otherwise feel like their best days are behind them.
Sex doesn’t have to be scary or stressful. That’s because sex is normal! With that said, everyone has a responsibility to themselves and their romantic partners to take sexual health and wellness seriously.
Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys covering topics related to business, health, and travel.
Photo: Brandon Roberts, Pixabay