Taking Charge of Your Sexual Health

sexual health

Do you feel confident about your sexual health? Would you know where to go to get it checked out? If not then read on to find out why it’s important to be informed, know your options, stay in control of your sexual health and most of all have a happy healthy relationship…

The more you know about sexual health the more confident you will feel when it comes to managing a healthy, happy sexual relationship with your partner. And the more you know the easier it is to talk about. The first step towards being in control of your sexual health is talking to your partner:

How to start talking about sex

The debate about the sexualisation of our society would lead you to believe that everyone talks about sex all the time. In fact the opposite is true. In our private lives and in relationships it’s easy to skirt around the issue or use humour to cover what we really want to say. The most important rule for new relationships is – don’t wait until you’re having sex to talk about it.

Talk about sex somewhere private and neutral – not the bedroom. If you’re not sure how to get the conversation started take a look at these helpful hints on ‘how to say it’ (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Talkingaboutsex/Pages/Talkingtoyourpartner.aspx). But it’s not just about new relationships. Remember no matter who you are having sex with or how long you have been together talking is the first step towards good sexual health.

Why should I get a check-up?

There are lots of reasons why getting a sexual health check or help from a sexual health professional is a good idea:

–       If you have started having sex with a new partner you should both get checked

–       If you are changing contraceptive methods e.g. from condoms to the pill

–       If you have had sex without a condom

–       If you think you might be pregnant

–       If you have been pushed into sex

–       If you just want to give yourself peace of mind

Where can I go for a check-up?

There are lots of professional sexual health services that are free and confidential. Your GP or a specialist clinic (such as the Brook (brook.org.uk) if you are under 25) will be able to help and often have emergency appointments available. Most hospitals also have genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics where you can be tested and treated for STIs.

If you are worried visit:

–       A GP or nurse

–       A midwife or health visitor

–       A contraceptive clinic

–       A genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic

–       A pharmacist (you can ask to speak to a pharmacist in most high street chemists)

Whatever you do don’t live with the worry of not knowing. The sooner you identify an issue with your sexual health the sooner it can be treated. Taking care of your health is needed for a healthy relationship, so don’t take chances.

Rachel White enjoys writing on a variety of topics. You can follow her on Twitter.