Sexual health is often stigmatized, and many of us feel pretty uncomfortable thinking about, let alone discussing it. This is why paying a visit to a gum clinic and getting a STI test can feel embarrassing, shameful even.
However, being open with your practitioner and partner can help paint an overall picture of your current health and even learn about different conditions you can be at risk for.
What is Sexual Health
Before diving into why talking about your sexual health is essential, it’s important to understand what the term sexual health means.
Sexual health is an umbrella term for an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being concerning their sexuality. This includes different aspects of our daily routines, such as:
· Understanding the risk and diagnoses of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)
· Sexuality and intimate relationships
· Engaging in safe sex practices
· Setting healthy boundaries
Why Talking About Sexual Health is Important
Bringing up the topic of sexual health can be intimidating. However, by taking control of your sexual health, you can nurture more profound connections with yourself and your partner. As well as improve your overall physical and mental well-being.
Here are a couple of reasons why you should bring up your sexual health at your next visit to a gum clinic:
STDs are sexually transmitted infections transmitted through bodily fluids via anal, vaginal, and oral penetration. And unfortunately, since they don’t have any initial symptoms, STDs can go undetected until much later.
If left untreated, STDs can cause detrimental health consequences such as:
· Pregnancy complications and stillbirth
· Heart disease
Some sexually transmitted infections can be treated using medications to stop the virus from replicating. However, others that remain incurable can still be controlled and managed to prevent the condition from worsening.
Talking to a sexual health doctor at your local gum clinic can help you gain insight regarding potential risk factors and how frequently you should get tested.
Encouraging Safe Sex Practices
Being aware of and engaging in safe sex practices reduces the risk of developing STDs and helps prevent unwanted pregnancies. It also boosts your overall sexual health and relationship with your partner.
Safe sex practices include:
· Using barrier method contraceptives
· Practicing monogamy
· Frequent testing, especially before engaging in sexual activities
It may come as a shock to some, but discussing sexual health matters with your doctor can also help you and your partner when you decide to go to three from two.
You can start by having open conversations regarding menstrual cycles, ovulation, and other physical exams that can help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Boosting Body Image
An essential part of sexual health is creating a comforting environment where you can communicate your sexual needs and establish firm boundaries while cultivating positive sexual practices.
Sexual health isn’t limited to just one’s sexual activity. It goes way beyond that, addressing sexual wellness, body image, and cultivating more profound relationships. Again, talking to a doctor or your partner can help you get the support you require.