Everyone Needs A Sexual Health Checklist
How do you know if you’re sexually healthy? Is it when you can desire and have sex as many times as you want, or is it when you’re free of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? Well, there’s more to sexual health than libidos and orgasms.
What is sexual health?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity.”
In layman’s English, sexual health is everything that affects your capacity to have a sexual relationship and experience sex in a safe, responsible, and pleasurable manner.
For some, sexual health involves the use of condoms to prevent pregnancy and STDs during sex and then cleaning up afterwards.
But as the definition above shows, sexual health covers a lot more than that.
In this article, we look at the elements that make up sexual health and organise them into a checklist for you to adopt towards maintaining good sexual health.
The checklists are general, but you can adjust them to meet your specific needs.
Let’s get started.
Your definition of sex informs how you see yourself in relation to the act itself. It helps to prepare your mind and body to get involved in the act of sex in a way that agrees with your values.
Sex is not an abstract concept. Are your genitals ready to go? You need to find out.
Before you rush to the doctor, start by examining yourself.
To do this, get someplace comfortable and keep a relaxed posture. Reach down and examine your genitals carefully for:
Lesions or hard tissue
Abnormal discharge (especially females)
You’re already familiar with the normal appearance of your genitals. Use the signs above as a checklist and compare them with what you know as normal. If you notice anything unusual, see a general practitioner or a specialist and have it resolved on time.
If you’re a lady, you should examine yourself when you’re not menstruating. Men can check themselves at any time.
The goal here is to help you better appreciate how your genitals look and feel when in good health so that you can spot signs of ill health if or when they appear.
By examining yourself at least once a month, you will be able to detect changes as soon as they appear and take steps to resolve them before they get complicated.
Sometimes, self-examination is not enough. Physical exams can only detect signs or what you can make sense of. Other abnormalities require that you get a specialist’s assessment.
A specialist will help you to do tests such as:
Pap smear (for females)
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test (for males)
Overnight erection test (for men having erectile dysfunction)
Ultrasound imaging (for both gender)
Hormones are a special class of chemicals that regulate the functions of your body. A special class of hormones called sex hormones helps to turn you on, produce sperm or eggs, influence the development of your sexual characteristics, and determine the reproductive cycle of a female.
Your hormonal profile is important if you want to have babies. As a man, hormones help your balls to produce sperm; in ladies, they assist the ovaries to produce and release eggs.
To find out if your body pumps the right levels of the hormone, see a specialist. The specialist will take your blood and check for the presence and levels of specific hormones in your body.
Common hormones include:
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
Luteinizing hormone (LH), etc.
The levels of these hormones in your blood will indicate how sexually fit you are.
From HIV to gonorrhoea, herpes, and syphilis, STDs come in various forms and dimensions. If you’re sexually active, you can contract any of these diseases, either via anal, oral, or vaginal sex.
Although the nature of your sexual relationships and the number of your partners influence your risk of contracting STDs, that you have sex is enough to put you at risk.
That’s why you need to get tested and know where you stand.
The list of STDs is long, but you can start by testing for these common ones:
Hepatitis A, B, and C
These STDs are common to both sexes and may manifest differently. Nevertheless, some STDs are more commonly found in ladies than in guys. These include:
Whatever the case, knowing your STD status gives you a chance to play it safe and healthy. Get tested today.
A contraceptive is any substance, device, or method that prevents you from impregnating someone (if you’re a man) or getting pregnant (if you’re a lady).
It’s quite easy to get lost in the heat of sex, and have a pregnancy that you or your partner didn’t plan for. A contraceptive helps you to avoid that.
Condoms are a readily available example of a barrier contraceptive, but like other options, condoms are not 100% effective even when used appropriately.
It’s up to you to choose the contraceptives most appropriate for you. From short-acting oral contraceptives to long-acting injectables and implants, you can choose the contraceptive that is most suitable for you.
Note, however, that some methods like total vasectomy and bilateral tubal ligation are not reversible.