Sexual health covers more than just medical or reproductive issues. It covers all aspects of sex like sex education, sexual behaviour and sexual attitudes. Therefore, to be sexually healthy, we should have positive and respectful attitudes towards sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships.
In physical terms, sexual health deals with how well one tackles issues such as unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and safer sex practices.
Here are some ways to achieve sexual health:
Understand Your Sexuality
Your sexuality is defined by your attitudes and values regarding sexual matters. It spans across a range of issues — from sexual thoughts and actions, to gender identity and roles. These issues are influenced by many factors, from biological, economic, and psychological factors, to social, ethical and religious ones.
Understand that you have sexual rights.
Singapore laws protect us against sexual violations and discrimination. You also have the right to choose whether you want to be sexually active or not, and you have control over who you want to have sex with and how it is practised.
Understand Your Partner’s Sexuality
Because everyone is unique, you’ll have attitudes, feelings and desires that are different from your partner. You can improve your sexual health and pleasure when both of you understand and respect each other’s sexuality. So it is important to try to communicate your views to your partner, and vice versa. When you share what you’re comfortable with and what you want, you are both better prepared for sex.
Develop a Healthy Self-esteem
Having a healthy self-esteem is to feel good about yourself and be comfortable with who you are. If both partners in a sexual relationship have a healthy self-esteem, acceptance and enjoyment in each other’s presence is increased. In contrast, poor self-esteem often leads to unhealthy or even abusive relationships.
Practise Safe Sex
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are contracted during unprotected sex and their symptoms vary widely. You can reduce the risk by practising safe sex, through the use of condoms. However, as condoms do not offer 100% protection, a better option is for a couple to be in a monogamous and faithful relationship. With a reduced risk of contracting STIs, the couple can relax and enjoy a pleasurable, healthy sexual relationship.
Some common STIs are:
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
If you suspect that you have an infection, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. It is important to treat STIs early to reduce complications and stop the spread of infection to others. Some STIs can be cured, while for AIDS, there is no cure.
Take Charge of Your Reproductive Health
Sexual health includes being able to have children, and planning when to have them. To look after your reproductive health, visit your doctor or gynaecologist regularly. Practise family planning so you’ll never have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy or about passing an infection to your child.
Talk to Your Child about Sexual Health
There has been an increase in cases of teenage sex in the past few years. This has resulted in a rise in unwanted pregnancies, abortions and STIs. If you are a parent, keep your child safe from such consequences by educating them on sexual health. It is good to start when they are young and just beginning to form their values and attitudes towards sex.
In summary, to be in good health, we must pay attention not only to our physical health, but also other aspects such as our mental, emotional, spiritual and sexual health.
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