Priority to sexual and reproductive health

Sexual and reproductive health is a key part of our overall well-being, but it’s often an overlooked and even taboo practice to discuss.

Maintaining good sexual health requires regular checkups, exercise, and even good self-esteem and communication skills.

It’s important to stay on top of your sexual health as you would other aspects of your health to ensure that you have safe and pleasurable experiences.

Here are three things to consider when evaluating your sexual health:

  1. Sexual and Reproductive Health

Your sexual and reproductive health requires various types of attention throughout your life, such as:

  • Maintain a constant hygiene routine, in general, and also after sex.
  • Practice safer sex if you are sexually active, especially through contraception.
  • Getting regular STD tests: The frequency of these tests will depend on various factors such as relationship status, age, etc. However, it is generally recommended that people get a general STD test once a year to screen for diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV. A more detailed review of how often you should get tested can be found here.
  • Finding the right medical specialist and seeing them regularly: this includes a gynecologist, urologist, breast cancer screening specialist and fertility doctors.

You can find information and resources and make an appointment to discuss the above topics at The Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

  1. Healthy eating and exercise

A healthy diet and regular physical activity are an integral part of a healthy life. However, they also affect sexual health. This includes:

  • Exercise: A CNN report which highlighted a study of national institutes of healthfound that “Forty-three percent of women and 31 percent of men have some form of sexual dysfunction, with obesity and lack of exercise often being factors. Exercise greatly affects sexual functions, as physical arousal is highly dependent on good blood circulation and aerobic exercise. Thus, regular exercise is a key part of sexual health.
  • Smoking and alcohol: Smoking affects peripheral vascular disease, which creates problems with blood flow to the penis, clitoris, and vaginal tissues. Heavy alcohol consumption also affects the sexual abilities of both men and women.
  • Balanced diet: Maintaining a regular weight and eating nutritious foods is recommended for better body performance.
  1. Self-esteem and communication

Another aspect of your overall sexual health is your ability to know, appreciate and accept yourself. Both in and out of your sexual relationships. A negative self-image can affect sex life and often requires some improvement to improve overall self-perception and sexual experiences. This can often be improved by therapy, exercise, hobbies, a new job, and other factors that might affect a person’s self-esteem.

However, another key element is communication. To have fulfilling experiences, it is important to have open and honest communication with partners where each person feels they can communicate their preferences, tastes and limits.

Some couples and individuals struggling with any of these issues and not knowing what resources to access may contact couples therapists and sex coaches such as O Henry.

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