Sexual health is key to your overall well-being.
Being sexually healthy means valuing and feeling good about yourself, avoiding sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy and enjoying positive relationships. There are several ways you can take care of yourself and take charge of your sexual health.
Steps to Take Charge of Your Sexual Health
VALUE WHO YOU ARE AND DECIDE WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU
It is up to you to decide if and when you choose to have sex. Think about what you want and use that to define your personal values, desires and boundaries. These things might change throughout your life, and that is okay. You know yourself more than anyone, so be honest with yourself.
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR BODY AND ACT RESPONSIBLY
Learn about how your body works, rely on trusted sources and explore ways to express yourself that make you feel comfortable. If you are sexually active, protect yourself and your partner from STIs and unplanned pregnancies by using condoms along with other forms of contraception.
TREAT YOUR PARTNERS WITH RESPECT AND EXPECT THE SAME
Build positive and healthy relationships by being open and honest with your partner about your desires, boundaries and sexual health. A relationship should make you feel comfortable, safe and good about yourself. Partners should respect your boundaries and not pressure or force you to do something you do not want to do. You should also respect your partner in the same way.
MAKE SEXUAL HEALTH PART OF YOUR HEALTHCARE ROUTINE
Sexuality is a part of life. This is something you should feel good about and not have to stress over. Practicing and making a habit of having open conversations with your healthcare provider, partners and the trusted adults in your life will help protect your sexual health and well-being. Wellness check-ups are a good time to ask questions and share any concerns with your healthcare provider.
Don’t forget, abstinence, when practiced 100% of the time, is the best way to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs. If you aren’t practicing abstinence, there are lots of other ways for you and your partner to have safer sex.