Written by Kelle Salle
Image by @badgyalshanshan
Whether you are single, married or in a relationship, your sexual health should always be a priority. Many people assume that sexual health shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless you are in a committed or casual relationship and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Neglecting to look after your sexual health can cause long-term damage to your health and wellbeing. Sexual health is quite a broad term – it covers everything from STIs to contraception to family planning and relationships so it’s important for women to know what steps to take in order to keep their health and wellbeing in check. While there is nothing wrong with having a healthy and fulfilling sex life whatever your relationship status, protecting your sexual health and maintaining positive relationships with any partners you may have is essential.
Holly Jackson, co-founder of sexual wellness brand SheSpot, has shared some insight on why it’s important for women to take care of their sexual health.
Why is it important for women to take care of their sexual health?
There’s a misconception that sexual health relates only to our physical state and wellbeing. However, sexual health strongly impacts our emotional and mental wellbeing too, so taking care of our sexual health is crucial for achieving a desirable state of overall wellbeing. Neglecting to take care of your sexual health can bring significant health risks such as long term STIs, unplanned pregnancy and sexual violence. How you take care of your sexual health as a woman changes and evolves as we pass through varying life stages – different elements of sexual health become important during major life events such as pregnancy, menstruation and menopause. Being in tune with your body and seeking medical advice sooner rather than later is critical in ensuring that you are looking after your body and overall well being in the best way you can.
What do sexual health clinics help with when it comes to women’s sexual health?
Sexual health clinics support women on a range of different subjects relating to sexual health, for example sharing important information about the different types of contraception available as well as providing STI screenings and advice relating to STIs.
Why shouldn’t we be afraid to talk about sexual health?
There’s still an element of taboo and stigma relating to women’s health which stems from outdated notions around female promiscuity and purity. Not only is it very important for women to talk about sexual health, whether that’s with a medical professional, family or friends, but it’s also incredibly empowering to be in control of your body and the decisions you make relating to your body throughout your life.
What advice would you give to women who are afraid to talk about their sexual health?
Ask yourself why you are afraid to talk about your sexual health. Is it fear or shame? Do you worry about what others will think of you or how you will think about yourself? Are you daunted by the subject and afraid to know the answers of any concerns you might have? Sexual health is a very private subject and it’s normal to be afraid or hesitant to talk about it. Most times, it’s overcoming the first time talking about your sexual health that is the hardest thing to do and then it becomes more normalised from then on. If you have any concerns about your sexual health, I would recommend making an appointment at a women’s sexual health clinic to speak with a medical professional as soon as possible. You’ll find that they are warm, open-minded and will not judge you, so seek help sooner rather than later.