September is Sexual Health Awareness Month! Sexuality is a normal, healthy, and positive aspect of human life. This month, we appreciate that everyone has a right to information and services that will help them be sexually healthy.
With accurate information about sex and health, you can make healthier and more informed decisions in the future, not only for the benefit of your own body, but for the benefit of your relationships and your community.
Be aware of sexual health for your body.
Being aware of your own sexual health is so important because you know your body best. When you are informed about things like STDs, periods, UTIs, and contraception, you know what’s normal versus what’s not. You will be able to tell if something is wrong with your body and have a better sense of what that problem could be.
This will also help you in your ability to talk to doctors about your needs. For example, if you know that mood-related issues like anxiety and depression are super-common among women on the pill and that sex hormones influence your moods, you will be better equipped to talk to your doctor about your type of birth control.
Be aware of sexual health in your relationships.
Being aware of sexual health is also important in relationships. If you do decide to have sex, always use protection, and remember to set boundaries in your relationship and talk openly about sexual health. You should feel comfortable establishing consent and using protection with your significant other.
Sex is an important way for lots of couples to feel close to one another. But one of the biggest ground rules of sex is that both partners should want to do it. Deciding to have sex is a big deal, and rushing into it could make you feel like you’re sacrificing your wants and values — and that’s not going to make your relationship any stronger or closer. In fact, it can make it worse.
Talk about your feelings with your partner so you can be clear about what you want. If your partner doesn’t respect what you think and want, or if they keep pressuring you to have sex, then it’s probably time to think about whether this relationship is right for you.
Always remember this: Anyone who truly cares about you will respect your decision.
Be aware of sexual health in your communities.
17 states require sex ed to be medically accurate, and 7 states explicitly require teachers to portray LGBTQ people negatively or not all (Source: SIECUS). When young people are able to take sex ed courses, many of them are not comprehensive or medically accurate, and often teach abstinence-only sex education. Talking openly about sexual health and advocating for sex ed in schools is essential.
Even just getting on birth control or visiting an OBGYN can raise eyebrows, especially in small towns. However, being informed and prepared is much better than something happening that you are not ready for. If you are afraid or embarrassed of asking your local doctor more about your sexual health, check out our Resources for Telehealth in Mississippi.
The American Sexual Health Association is also a great resource for information about your body, STDs/STIs, and more.
At Fact Not Fiction, we want everyone to have the right information, regardless of your age, gender, sexuality, or whether or not you’re sexually active. Whatever you do, with whomever, don’t do it in the dark. And ALWAYS make sure it’s done with consent.