A Comprehensive Guide to Healthy Sexuality
It’s time to become a healthier, more sexually empowered version of yourself. In this article, you’ll find out how to develop healthy sexuality and why it’s essential.
Why Does Healthy Sexuality Matter?
Your sexuality is a part of you! It can be expressed in the way you dress, act, navigate relationships, and even affect your choices.
To have healthy sexuality means taking care of your sexual health in terms of both your body and mind. If you neglect your physical and emotional needs, you risk having an unsatisfying sex life, self-esteem and body image problems, and unfulfilling relationships. If this sounds like you, it’s never too late to turn things around and make changes in your approach. Healthy sexuality characteristics include healthy libido, fulfilling relationships, sexual confidence, and lack of STIs.
Here’s how to develop healthy sexuality:
Self-care refers to strategies that promote wellbeing. In this case, it means giving your body a chance to reach its sexual potential.
1. Take care of your hygiene
A big part of keeping your sexuality healthy is having your sexual needs met and exploring what you like in bed. To respect both yourself and your partner, you should remember to take care of your hygiene; make sure you have a shower at least once per day and ideally before sex and get frequent checkups to make sure you’re free of thrush and bacterial vaginosis. Just remember not to douche as it can throw your vagina’s ph off balance.
2. Eat a balanced diet
Whether what you eat influences the way your vaginal fluid tastes is still debatable, but a healthy diet can lift your mood, which translates into increased confidence. The more confident you are in bed, the more likely you’re to express your sexuality and have your needs met.
Eating healthy is a great way to develop healthy sexuality because it can also boost your libido – even if you’re young, the demands of modern life are enough to make you feel stressed and unable to enjoy sex, so you might want to take notes. Make sure to include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet – figs, bananas, and avocados are said to be aphrodisiacs.
3. Include exercise in your routine
Unless you like gentle sex or letting your partner do all the work, sex is quite a workout that can wear you off pretty fast if your stamina isn’t great. To lead a more active lifestyle, make changes in your routine gradually. For example, try to walk to work instead of driving, walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift and stretch your body after sitting for a prolonged amount of time. Plus, remember that getting regular exercise can improve your sex drive because it increases genital blood flow.
To develop healthy sexuality, it’s important to implement some strategies to prevent STIs and bodily harm:
1. Be aware of your limits and risks
Whenever you explore what you enjoy sexually, you should remember to take things slow. For example, if you want to be choked by your partner, you should not go all the way straight away and ideally find out how it can be done safely first.
Before you engage in any new sexual activity, make sure both you and your partner are comfortable with it and its potential risks. Pushing yourself to the limits can do more harm than good, so remember it’s better to gradually get to where you want to be than do something you might regret. Additionally, don’t do things out of your comfort zone just to please your partner. Lastly, remember that there’s no shame in needing to use lube – if your vagina is dry, you’re risking getting abrasions.
2. Discuss each other’s sexual history
Nobody likes when things get awkward but talking about your and your partner’s sexual history is a must and an important part of developing healthy sexuality. You should get checked after every new partner and ideally use condoms for extra protection, although be aware that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus which can be passed through skin-to-skin contact.
Some strains of HPV can turn into cervical cancer, so it’s better to take as many precautions as possible. Additionally, remember that sometimes signs of STI can be easily spotted: a rash, blisters, suspicious discharge, or an offensive smell, so pay attention to what your new partner’s genitals look like. If you’re with a partner you trust, it won’t hurt to repeat your tests a couple of months after the first sexual contact.
3. Invest in high-quality sex toys
While the market is saturated with all kinds of sex toys for women, some of them are still unfortunately made of non-body safe materials. When choosing a new toy, make sure it’s non-porous so it doesn’t trap bacteria and ideally made from silicone, metal, or glass. Remember to clean them thoroughly after each use to prevent vaginal infections; boil them or use a spray.
Emotional health is as important as physical health, if not more. If you neglect your emotional needs, it might have an impact on your physical health. For example, chronic stress can cause thrush, and traumatic sexual experiences can result in vaginismus. Here’s how to take care of your emotional health:
1. Only have sex when you really want to
A huge part of having healthy sexuality is prioritizing your needs. Don’t let anyone convince you that you owe them a sexual activity. Sex requires the consent of all people involved, so if you aren’t feeling it, you have the right to say no. Additionally, a lot of people might use sex to deal with negative emotions because it’s a nice distraction but relying on it also makes them ignore the problem, which isn’t the long-term answer.
To become more in tune with your emotional needs, work on the practice of mindfulness. Being mindful means being aware of your surroundings and sitting down with your thoughts. The more you practice being in the present, the more connected to your needs you’ll be.
2. Avoid relationships that don’t meet your needs
There’s one not-so-great thing about sex: the feel-good hormones that can be beneficial if you’re in a loving relationship but cloud your judgment if you’re having casual sex. Because our bodies release oxytocin, we might easily get attached to a person we’ve only just met.
However, healthy sex life isn’t just about having great sex; it’s also about developing a strong emotional bond that allows you to connect with your partner outside of the bedroom and have an honest conversation if things aren’t working. If you stay with partners who don’t respect your boundaries, it will eventually impact your self-esteem no matter how good sex is. Make sure you prioritize your mental health and stay in relationships that are respectful.
3. Connect with your needs
Take time to explore your body and the way it likes being touched. Make sure you masturbate regularly and experiment with different types of stimulation. Additionally, don’t be afraid to explore porn; it can be a great tool to explore some of your sexual preferences; just remember not to take it as a definite guide. This will help you get a better sense of who you are sexually and give you more confidence in your sexuality in general. Once you’ve learned about your sexuality, you can start expressing it in a way that benefits your mental health.