Being healthy is about holistic wellness, and sexual health forms an integral part of it. So, on this World Sexual Health Day, let us tell you how to maintain sexual health for the sake of your own well-being and for your relationship.
Sex, sexual well-being and sexual pleasure have largely been subjects surrounded by stigma, more so when it comes to women. But over the past few years, with the advent of the internet and emergence of sexual health influencers on social media, the taboo seems to be getting diluted.
There’s more awareness and interest around sexual health and well-being among people of all age groups. Alongside, there are also concerted efforts towards spreading sex education among youngsters at the right time.
According to Dr Vaishali Sharma, MD (AIIMS) DSAGE (Germany) Senior Gynecologist, Laparoscopic Surgeon and Infertility Specialist, sexual health is underrated and any sexual ailment is under-corrected.
“Sexual health is equally important in males as well as in females. There are many aspects of sexual health – psychological, anatomical, physiological as well as pathological, which people need to know about,” Dr Sharma tells Health Shots.
Tips to maintain sexual health
1. Don’t ignore any new occurrence
Keep a check on your intimate hygiene. Be on the lookout for anything unusual that may cause you discomfort.
“Never ignore any new mole, ulcer or lesion in your private area. In case of any obvious skin lesion in your intimate area, it is advisable to visit a dermatologist,” says Dr Sharma.
2. Maintain hygiene
Keeping your pubic hair or not is a decision for every woman to make, but doctors recommend you keep it trimmed for the sake of hygiene. Dr Sharma suggests women should avoid using razors or blades down there as the skin is extremely sensitive, and it may be susceptible to cuts and bruises. This could further lead to unwanted infection.
Also, it’s best to keep your vaginal area clean. Unnecessary vaginal wash products can be avoided.
3. Engage in healthy and safe sex
Sexual intercourse is a healthy practice, as long as it is done with mutual consent. “There is no normal range as far as number of times you indulge in sexual intercourse. While once a month can be normal for a couple, once daily is also completely normal. It just depends upon comfort and libido of both partners,” says Dr Sharma.
Make sure either you or your partner are using protection. This is not just to avoid a pregnancy but also to safeguard you from any likely sexually transmitted disease. Also, avoid engaging in sex with a partner whose sexual or health history you may be unaware of.
4. Educate yourself about an orgasm
An orgasm has been hailed as the be all and end all of sex, but truth be told – not everyone hits the big O!
“While men are usually able to end up with an orgasm, this is not the same in case of women,” explains Dr Sharma, hinting about the existing orgasm gap across the world.
Orgasm is one of the most elusive aspects of sex, and for many women, it can be a cause for stress. Try different techniques for intimacy, foreplay and stimulation to see what may work.
A word of advice from the expert: “Try to find out the reason in case you are missing out on your orgasm. There can be psychological as well as pathological causes for the same.”
5. Know your vaginal discharge
For a woman, especially, knowing about vaginal discharge is an important part to maintain sexual health. The discharge is also, in fact, indicative of their ovulation cycle.
“Some amount of discharge is physiological, but in case there is excessive discharge, foul smell or any burning sensation, do consult a doctor. In case men suffer these issues, they should show a urologist,” adds Dr Sharma.
Working out or exercising is not just to stay slim, trim or fit. Your sexual well-being also includes the need for strength, flexibility and stamina. This can come with regular exercising to maintain sexual health. For women, who may be worried about a loose vagina as they get older, kegel exercises for vaginal tightening are highly recommended.
Dr Sharma also points out how, With the advent of medical science treatment, options are available for vaginismus (tight vagina) as well as loose vagina via rejuvenation techniques. “The sole target is achieve optimum sexual experience for both partners. The option of hymenoplasty (formation of new hymen) is also available for those who want to relive their first experience,” she adds.
With these basic tips on how to maintain sexual health, try to improve your intimate hygiene and sex life!