Sunday, September 18, 2016
Having a healthy sex life isn’t just about enjoying intimacy with your sexual partner, but also about staying healthy in the process. This will allow you to enjoy your sexuality with a healthier body, healthier sex life, positive relationships and peace of mind that you’re having sex safely and not putting yourself or your partner at risk of unwanted pregnancy or STIs.
Many of us feel that sex and our sexual health is an embarrassing topics. However, it’s a perfectly natural act that should be enjoyed and openly discussed, as this will help increase awareness of good sexual health and lower the risks.
Having an open approach to discussing your sexual life is key to staying in control of your sexual health. For this reason, it’s a good idea to regularly speak to sexual partners about sexual health, as well as your GP or nurse. As medical professionals, they’re not there to judge, but simply to provide sound and informed advice and treatments on sexual health, which will ensure you and your sexual partner have a positive relationship towards sexual health and safe sex.
Contraception is vital to practising safe sex, but it isn’t the only factor to consider, as they won’t necessarily protect you from STIs. However, the correct use and understanding of contraception can prevent pregnancy, so here are three common myths you should be aware of.
Myth – condoms and the pill are the only contraceptives.
While these are the most well-known contraceptives, they are far from being the only ones. Women have a choice of 13 other contraceptive methods including the coil, IUD implant and the injection. But for men, the only real two options are condoms or sterilisation.
Myth – emergency contraception is only effective 24 hours after unprotected sex
Commonly referred to as ‘the morning after pill’, this name for emergency contraception can be a little misleading. While they are more effective the sooner they are taken, the emergency pill can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, while the IUD version is effective up to 5 days later.
Myth – condoms can be reused
Condoms are specifically designed for single-use and should never be reused. If you do reuse them, you are putting yourself and your partner at risk of pregnancy or STIs.
Practising safe sex is not just about using contraception to avoid pregnancy. Contraception can also prevent sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, genital warts, herpes and HIV from being passed between sexual partners, which is particularly important for people who have multiple sexual partners. To keep you and your partner safe from STIs, it’s important to know that only condoms or abstinence are effective contraceptives – the contraceptive pill, implant, coil and injection only protect against pregnancy.
In addition to using contraceptives, you should also talk regularly with your GP about your sexual health and if you have multiple partners or have had unprotected sex, you can also visit a genitourinary medicine (GUM) or STI clinic where they can carry out a number of tests for sexually transmitted diseases. Some diseases display symptoms, but others like chlamydia can be symptomless, which means it can be passed on to numerous people unknowingly. Some of the most infectious STIs are:
Pubic Lice (Crabs)
All these infections are easily passed on through vaginal and anal intercourse, as well as through oral sex. The best way to protect you and your partner is to be open about your sexual history, wear condoms during sex and use anti-spermicidal lubricants, as well as regularly check your sexual health with your doctor, nurse or local GUM clinic. If you know or suspect you may have an STI, always use protection during intercourse. This will mean you can have a healthier sex life and body.