You’re good about taking those evening strolls, hitting the gym, taking mental health breaks, and filling your plate with good-for-you foods, but when’s the last time you got deliberate about your sexual health?
We’re exploring what sexual health is, why it’s imperative to your overall well-being, and offering some pro tips to embrace and nourish your sexuality.
Also Read: 15 Self-Care Gifts That Are Essential
What is Sexual Health?
Sexual health isn’t just about getting STD tests or practicing good hygiene. Both are obviously important, but there’s so much more to it than that.
“Sexual health is like any other aspect of maintaining your physical body’s overall balance and well-being, but it takes on an extra layer of importance because of how it can impact, positively or negatively, your sex life,” notes Angie Rowntree, a sex positivity expert and founder of Sssh.com.
She continues, “Whether you’re flying solo or enjoying sex with a partner or partners, being able to enjoy sex on your terms—in a way that feels good for you—is integral to your overall well-being.”
The concept of sexual health is starting to gain traction, especially as sex becomes more normalized in general. Back in the day, sex was such a “hushed” topic or spoken about in covert terms (ahem “birds and bees”).
Today, thankfully, more embrace the idea of being sexually intelligent and open. People are more freely participating in conversations about sex with their partners, friends, and even parents. At the end of the day, sex is just a very normal part of the human condition
“When we are aware of ourselves and our sexuality, we can be better lovers to ourselves, as well as our lovers,” explains Marla Renee Stewart, MA, a sexpert for Lovers, which creates ethical porn for women and lovers. “Being sexually well makes us feel good and boosts our sexual confidence.”
Pro Tips For Nurturing Your Sexual Health
Feeling inspired? Here are a handful of ways you can wholly embrace your sexuality.
1. Communicate Openly
Whether you’re committed or enjoying casual sex, open communication opens the floodgates for sexual health and fun. These conversations can range from discussing your current sexual health and testing habits to telling your partner exactly how you like it.
“The less ambiguity you have, the better and clearer the situation becomes, which ultimately makes more room for pleasure to be uninterrupted by emotional or psychological stressors,” says Stewart.
2. Play & Explore
Getting into a rut happens with all sorts of things—sex included. Whether masturbating or enjoying time with others, experiment and explore.
“Humans adore novelty, and exploring new ideas or sensations is hard-wired into us. When we discover and share experiences, that creates connection and engagement,” says Elizabeth Dell, a certified sex educator and founder of the relationship and intimacy app, Amorus. “By approaching sexuality from a sense of play, we follow what feels good and let fun be the guide.”
Of course, masturbation is on this list! Stewart says, “Masturbation is important because it not only helps you to be aware of what you like sexually for your body, but it also has the double duty of releasing the happy hormones that you need to feel good and enhance your emotional and mental well-being.
4. Schedule Time to Have Sex
Speaking of getting into a rut, sometimes life can get the better of us and sexual intimacy/self-pleasure gets put on the back burner. By literally scheduling time to engage, you’re more likely to fall out of those inevitable lulls.
“In addition to ensuring that sexual needs are being met, it increases the likelihood of impromptu fun over time, builds anticipation, and promotes connectedness and communication,” says Rebecca Alvarez Story, CEO of Bloomi, which specializes in plant-based sexual wellness products.
She adds, “Having regular sex [or masturbating often] can help reduce pain, alleviate symptoms of mental illness (especially depression), boost cardiovascular strength, and even lengthen your life.”
5. Test As Needed
Testing is one of the most important things you can do for your health and safety—and the safety of those you engage with. And as unpleasant or nerve-racking as it is, we promise you’ll feel way better, and a lot more in control of your body, in doing so.
“I recommend putting yourself on a schedule, whether you have a lover or not,” says Stewart. “Set a schedule for every 3 to 6 months. You can also make it a habit to get tested before and after each sexual partner, too. Do what feels good to you, but make sure that you make it a habit and a boundary.”
Also Read: What Busy Women Can Do To Prevent Burnout
Sexual Wellness Products to Try
Put your sexual health first—and perhaps have a bit more fun—by introducing these sexual wellness products to your world.
Created to stimulate and awaken, this edible lubricant is made with organic ingredients and infused with CBD and CBG.
Eggplant Emojibator, $34
This eggplant-shaped vibrator is perhaps the cutest hand-held toy for solo or foreplay. It features 10 vibration settings and is waterproof.
Love Honey Sensuva Ice Cube Strawberry Mint Flavored Cooling Nipple Balm, $12.99
Your nipples are one of the most underrated pleasure centers. This flavored, edible balm stimulates your nipples with a tingling sensation, leaving them perky and sensitive.
One of the easiest ways to spice up your sex life? Try new things. This simple, 108-pack “card game” features different sex positions to try.
This condom is for those who prefer to go without it. Thin, smooth, and barely there, this condom changes the way we feel about condoms—and the change feels good.
Self-care can help you feel calm which puts you in a better mood for sex. Enhance your foreplay in the bath with this sensual and stimulating cream. The sweet and luxurious honey cream will leave your skin feeling soft and smell divine.
For both him and her, these natural daily supplements increase blood flow, support hormone health, and alleviate stress to promote sexual arousal and pleasure.
Nooky Water Based Lubricant, $16.95
Arouse your erogenous zones with this water-based lubricant. This silky smooth formula is perfect for couples or solo pleasure. Plus, it’s approved for sensitive skin.