In honor of World Sexual Health Day on September 4th, the American Sexual Health Association marks September as Sexual Health Month.
What can you do?
Emily Nagoski’s bestselling book Come As You Are is an excellent way for women to learn that their sexual pleasure is based on more than just anatomy. Emotional wellbeing, trust, and a positive self-image play an essential role in sexual experiences for women. Since its publication five years ago, it’s helped hundreds of women improve not just their own lives, but those of their partners as well.
Planned Parenthood is a great sex education resource for people of all ages and genders. Scarleteen is also an amazing site for teens. It touches not just on the “standard” birds-and-the-bees, safer-sex lessons, but also on topics that parents might not have answers for, like coming out, abusive relationships, or navigating adolescence as a person with disabilities.
If you’re sexually active, it’s good practice to get tested regularly for STIs. For many of us, HIV was taught as the Big Bad in high school sex ed. However, others like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility. HPV infection is also a risk factor for certain types of cancer, like cervical cancer. Again, Planned Parenthood is a great place for this. You can also ask your primary care physician or gynecologist.
Get down with your bad self!
OK, you know we were going there. Embrace pleasure this month, whatever that means to you. Invest in some quality condoms and lube and have some fun with your partner! You can also find a new toy and do some self-exploration (a partner can come on this journey too, of course!) And if sex isn’t your thing, or isn’t your thing right now, feel good about the fact that your friends are looking after their health.