September is Sexual Health Awareness Month. 

How well do you understand sexual health as a whole? Preventing unplanned pregnancies and STIs is only the beginning. Enjoying pleasure and closeness when wanted, coupled with the respect for the sexual rights we all have, is also part of the definition of sexual liberation.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, most people think about eating right and exercising, but have you thought about your sexual health? As controversial as it is, sexual wellness is vital to your physical as well as mental well-being. The American Sexual Health Association's definition of sexual health is “the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives.” Celebrate Sexual Health Awareness Month all September by taking steps towards achieving your own sexual health.

Although most people associate sex with physical intimacy, hygiene shouldn't be overlooked.

People should practice and maintain good sexual hygiene, especially before, during, and after sexual contact, to keep themselves healthy. In a perfect world, we would all practice the best sexual health habits imaginable.

There are two major reasons why maintaining good sexual hygiene is essential to your overall health. For starters, it reduces the risk of getting certain sexually transmitted infections. Second, it decreases the likelihood of infections developing and progressing to more severe conditions, such as infertility.

Improved sex is one of the many benefits of maintaining good sexual hygiene. It enhances oral sex and allows you to relax and be more sexually confident with your partner.

Maintaining good sexual hygiene includes washing your hands (and sex toys) before and after any sexual play, peeing after sex, proper cleaning of genitals, using condoms, routine check-ups, avoiding douching, increased water intake, healthy nutritional habits, and more.

Ladies, understand your vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and you should only use water to cleanse it. It protects itself by secreting waste and harboring beneficial microorganisms. Only use intimate shower products if advised by your doctor. Keep in mind that if you do too much, a vaginal infection could occur.

Men must also take care of their sexual hygiene to maintain their health and have a fulfilling sexual life. Dead skin accumulation in the vaginal region affects both men and women. Smegma is also seen between the foreskin of penis. It can emit an unpleasant stench if it is not cleaned. Although it is entirely safe for your health, the smell or taste of it may put off your partners. Just make sure to thoroughly rinse it away when showering.

A healthy attitude toward personal cleanliness may be learned, and everyone's approach to sexual hygiene is unique.

Conversations with your doctor about your sexuality and sexual activity can be difficult— You may feel awkward and uncomfortable discussing what goes on in your bedroom with your physician. It's important for you and your healthcare practitioner to keep in mind that your sexual health is an important component of your overall well-being.

Sexual well-being is an essential element of comprehensive health care. It should be treated like any other health component. Arousal, desire, pain or discomfort with sex, and the inability to reach orgasm are common problems for both men and women. Despite this, many people don't talk about these concerns with their partners, let alone their physicians.

Need help with easing into conversation with your healthcare provider? Here are a few tips to help you and your health care provider have more effective discussions regarding sexual health:

  • Scheduling an appointment with your doctor should be your first priority. Ask your doctor about your concerns at an annual or routine office visit, and be willing to set up a follow-up appointment with your doctor.
  • Make a list of your questions and concerns. By creating a list, ensures that you cover everything. Is there any pain during sex? Consult internet resources. Orgasm isn't happening? Make a list of all the ways you've already tried and see what works. With some background knowledge, your provider will be able to make better recommendations. Make sure to take the list with you to your appointment.
  • Don't withhold information. Begin by stating that you have some sexual questions and concerns, and be sure to address everything.
  • Keep an open mind. Everything from your stress level to your relationship happiness to your prescription side effects might affect your sexual performance. All possible causes can be explored in conjunction with your doctor, allowing you to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. So don't be afraid to talk about your relationships, upbringing, societal and cultural views, and sexual history, as well as any worries you may have regarding contraception or reproductive health.
  • Seek out a recommendation. For the same reasons as patients, doctors don't discuss sex. In some cases, they don't know what to say or want to violate limits and risk asking questions that the patient might find inappropriate. Then seek help from someone more comfortable with the subject of sex than you (or your provider). If you have sexual issues, other doctors or even experts may be able to help you more efficiently. Help may be available from primary care physicians, gynecologists, physical therapists for the pelvic floor, sexuality educators, marriage and family counselors, sex counselors, and therapists.

Maintaining your sexual health means that you are:

  • recognize that sexuality is a regular aspect of a person's life and encompasses more than simply sexual conduct.
  • acknowledge that everyone has sexual rights
  • implement safe, effective measures to avoid unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
  • are willing to utilize sexual health resources
  • can experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy whenever you desire
  • can discuss your sexual health and desires freely with intimate partners and healthcare experts when necessary

Sexual health is essential because it empowers you to take control of your reproductive health and emotional well-being in intimate relationships. Education, safety, and communication are just a few factors that go into becoming sexually healthy (both with healthcare providers and intimate partners).

Poor sexual health can have a wide range of negative repercussions. Unwanted pregnancy and STIs might result from a lack of access to information and/or services.

Bottom line is that sexual health and wellness is an essential component of living a fulfilled life. Making it a priority may have a significant impact on your emotional, physical, and mental well-being, as well as their intimate connections.