5 ways to look after your sexual health
The importance of looking after your sexual health is rarely expressed strongly enough. Poor sexual health is not only bad for your physical wellbeing, but your mental one too. Check out our five tips for avoiding sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
1. Don’t rush
The best advice and our number one tip is to avoid getting an STI in the first instance. The majority of new relationships begin with an expectation that sex will take place sooner or later. While it takes time to get to know another person properly, the sexual phase of a relationship often begins while the couple don’t know each other very well at all. Regardless of what age you are when you enter into a new partnership, it’s advisable to spend some time getting to know each other first. Although the decision is always a very personal one, delaying sex until you feel able to have a conversation about the risks of sexually transmitted infections and safer sex may be best. At no point should anyone ever feel pressured into having sex before they want to.
2. Be prepared
Once you have decided to have sex, always be prepared and protected. Safe sex options should be kept within easy reach. Make sure they are out and ready to use before the fun starts, as it can be very hard to stop once aroused.
3. Talk about it
Some people find it difficult to have the safe sex conversation with their partner. It might help to chat through what you should say and how to say it with a friend. Family planning clinics, counsellors or other health care providers are also very experienced in these matters and are ready and willing to offer help and advice.
4. Have you been put at risk?
If you or your partner have, or may have been exposed to, a sexually transmitted infection, it’s vital to go for immediate testing. It is possible to have an STI but not experience any symptoms. If you live in London STI testing kits are available from https://www.checkurself.org.uk. The sooner an STI is treated, the better.
5. Start afresh
Before starting a new relationship, it is advisable to go for an STI screening. Screening is also a good idea if you or your partner have more than one sexual partner.