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Should I be worrying about my sexual health?

When we talk about sex, we can like, sexual health, if you had to think of a four-letter word, you might say boob or you might say kiss. My favorite four-letter word is talk. So, I want to jump into this topic of sexual health because it’s this term that we hear a lot. But what exactly does it mean?

Is it something that only people who are having sex should be worrying about? Is it just, you know, if you don’t have an STI, you’re sexually healthy, you’re good to go?

You never have to think about this term ever. What does it really mean? You know, at 5 years old You’re talking body parts. And do you say slang or do you say the correct kind of medical terms? And so, it doesn’t have to be, you know, naughty, or you know, sex, sex. It is simply about being healthy and knowing your body parts.

It’s more than just the absence of disease. Its actual health and being healthy. Great. So sexual health is about our physical mental, emotional well-being, with things that are related to sex. So, we can think about sexuality, we can think about sex, the practice of sex. But also like our bodies, all of that falls under sexual health. I think the first time we may think, or I hear about it is when STIs come up or we have that one section in health class that talks about sex, but really is with us our whole life.

It’s when we first learn what our body parts are, right, it’s when we start to have conversations with our friends about the people. we like. All of that is really connected to sexual health. And so, when we learn about sexual health, we’re really learning about that throughout our entire lifespan, even when we’re little babies.

The doctor’s office is actually one of the first places that we do start talking about sexual health. So, what can you expect when you hit puberty, and you’re going to the doctor’s office? So, you should be having one-on-one time with your doctor, starting at age 12. Nothing to be afraid of, we just want to make sure that everything’s safe. I know as sex, educator, all of my young people. worry so deeply about “will my parents find out?”

If you’re going to seek medical care on your own, it’s okay to pick up the phone and ask these questions when you make the appointment, like “will these things be shared with my parents?” “Will you call my house?” Yeah, I definitely agree. I remember making my first OBGYN appointment. Calling in the office before, super nervous.

Hey, like I’m under 18, like is it okay if I don’t come with my parents and the reaction was like, yeah, totally. That’s totally fine. And they were like you can bring a friend if you want. Like a supportive friend. We were all talking to the doctor. It was a super comfortable conversation. And how do you start talking to your doctor if you just recently became sexually active? Are there certain questions that you should be asking your doctor?

I think that’s awesome for people to prepare to have sex. So, I tell anybody if you’re going to have heterosexual relationships and any relationships, you should probably see your doctor two to three months before you have sex. So, you can review preventing unplanned pregnancy, preventing sexually transmitted infections, and then we can have the sex talk if you need it. If you, you know, already had it and you know all your stuff doesn’t hurt to go back in and just check.

Totally. And I think a lot about how when you talk to your doctor about this, you get to practice talking to your partners, right? And so, if that’s the first place where you want to have a trial run and say like these are all the questions I have, because these may be questions that you need to ask your partner too. Some of the questions that our doctor asked, you like, have you been tested? Would you like to be tested? What kind of birth control would you want to think about or explore?

Those are questions that you might want to be having with a potential partner, right?
And so right off the bat, you have everything you need. In your insides, you will feel more confident, more prepared. And that way, you will be able to lead a sexually healthy life. You touched on asking your doctor, what are all my options when it comes to birth control? What are the options when it comes to birth control?

When you go to the doctor’s office, the new paradigm is you start with the best and you work your way down. So, the number one, most effective method that is not permanent, is the IUD and the implant. And I actually have an IUD! It’s just a sample, I don’t know if you can see it here. There’s copper and then there’s hormonal. So, if you don’t feel your periods, you don’t bleed at all copper IUD. But if you feel every cramp and all the blood coming through, maybe not copper IUD.

Then there’s the hormonal IUD, which is this is kind of the sample of, but it would be white and 30% of the people that go on that lose their periods and the like no more periods. And then the other 70%, their periods get lighter, so it’s all sorts of goodness. The main side effects are you may have breakthrough bleeding. And as I mentioned the lighter periods, but women love that.

When I was 17, 18 that I was realizing a lot of girls around me were slowly going on birth control, but what if you just feel like you’re not ready to have sex and you feel a little bit maybe like behind or like everyone’s ahead of you and you just don’t have the sexual desire to have sex with someone. Is that normal? I say totally normal. You do not have to have sexual feelings or attraction to anyone. In fact, some people never develop those feelings.

Asexual people actually are not attracted or sexually attracted to anyone. And seriously, you have so much time, right? Sex is not the most immediate thing you need to be doing. And also, there’s time to figure out yourself. I’m going to say the word that no one wants to say to kids’ masturbation. Like that’s a thing that you could be doing and figuring out for yourself before you figure that out with anybody else, right? In fact, I always encourage that. sexual health.

I think it’s so empowering when you can do that for yourself and you’re like, I don’t need you to do anything. And also, like, if you don’t know what makes you feel good, how are you supposed to communicate that to somebody else? What other things are a part of making sure that you’re sexually healthy?

Assume everyone has every sexually, transmitted infection under the sun, and if you’re going to have relations, please use a barrier method. You should get sexually transmitted infection testing, at least once a year when you’re under the age of 26. I’m a condom queen. I just deal with them all the time. Everybody. Condoms for everybody. Birth control and condoms, all the time. Like no matter where you are. Right? And for me, my favorite four-letter word.

It’s, this is a game that I play. When we talk about sex, we can, like, if you had to think of a four-letter word, might say boob, or you might say tits, or you might say kiss. My favorite four-letter word is talk. It’s the key to living and leading a sexually healthy life – is to talk about it.

Thank you, guys, so much for sharing your tips and tricks, and as Brittany said, you might have more questions. So, if you do, please talk to your healthcare provider or an adult that you trust, and thank you guys both so much for being a part of this conversation.

How to be your own advocate for better healthcare?

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