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5 Ways to Promote Lasting Sexual Health

5 Ways to Promote Lasting Sexual Health

Puberty has its ups and its downs — while a person slowly turns into an adult, hormones and aging take hold, making some young bodies taller, rounder, or simply different than they were prior to reaching puberty. Puberty can be a trying time for anyone, but it’s also the time that we all should start caring about our sexual health. 

The Women’s Center at Life Point Medical in Clayton, Georgia, is run by Monique Petteys, FNP-C. From comprehensive gynecological care to simply answering complicated questions, caring for your feminine sexual health is a top priority, and Nurse Petteys has several tips that can help us help you.

How do I know what’s going on with my sexual health?

Many, if not most, people only find themselves seeking medical attention when they’re having a medical issue. For everyone, visiting your primary care doctor at least once per year is the easiest way to stay on top of your health. For women, or anyone living with a vagina, regular gynecological checkups are essential to keeping you healthy. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone with a cervix receive a Pap smear at least once per three years. Nurse Petteys may recommend that you have Pap smears more often, especially if you’ve recently been diagnosed with a dangerous feminine health issue, like HPV. If you notice any discomfort, unusual smells, unusual discharge, or your menstrual cycle has been irregular, you may be living with another feminine health issue. 

Sexual health isn’t just about STDs and STIs — though being able to enjoy sex, having sex comfortably, and experiencing a safe pregnancy and delivery are also important to the story of your overall and sexual health. 

What are five ways to promote lasting sexual health?

Protecting the longevity of your sexual health often means going back to the basics of self-care. Many of us learned in grade school that condoms can provide effective protection against a host of venereal diseases, but there is much, much more to maintaining optimal sexual health. 

1. Healthy eating and exercise

Behind every healthy person is a healthy diet, and your reproductive health is always better when you are overall health is optimized. Cardio exercise speeds up your pulse, allowing more oxygenated blood to fill your oxygen- and nutrient-hungry reproductive system. Both men and women have historically reported an increase in their sexual desire after ending a long period of being physically inactive.

2. Practice safe sex

Again, part of protecting your sexual health is basic self-care. Within or without the context of a relationship, birth control and protection against STDs should be prioritized. No matter how awkward it may be in some situations, choosing to use protection is a choice that protects your sexual health.

3. Quit smoking

Smoking is still a global health issue and the single greatest preventable cause of death in the world. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, limiting your lubrication and making it harder for your heart to do its important work — while and after you’re intimate.

4. Let your vagina breathe so it can do its job

It’s tempting to use douches, sprays, and feminine washes to fight odor and cleanse your sensitive genital area. While some soaps may be OK for that part of your body, your best bet is a small amount of very mild soap and plenty of warm water to keep your vaginal area clean. 

Tampons are a convenient way to stay clean and dry during your menstrual cycle. However, tampons pose a threat to your sexual health for a number of well-known reasons. Sanitary pads and menstrual cups perform the same function as tampons but are far less dangerous to your reproductive system.

5. Be cautious with new sexual partners

In addition to having protected sex with those you know, make sure to do the same with those whom you do not. Talk to your new partner about their sexual history, and get tested together, if possible. Waiting to know someone fully before engaging in sex is always ideal, but condoms remain the most common type of birth control. 

Whatever routes you choose to take care of your sexual and reproductive health, Nurse Petteys encourages you to ask any questions you may have about what’s best for you. If you’re ready for your routine Pap smear or have questions about sexual health, call our office for an appointment, or book a consultation with Nurse Petteys online. 

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