What is Sexual Health, and How Can Birth Control Support It?
One of the most important goals of our work at Power to Decide is to empower people with trusted, high-quality, and accurate information about contraception so they can have full ownership of their futures. This involves keeping up with the latest and greatest advancements in birth control methods, but we believe it’s also important to dismantle the stigmas about people who have sex and enjoy having sex. This is because, no matter what your elderly relatives have told you, sex is an absolutely and totally normal part of life. It’s even a healthy part of life.
And that brings us to sexual health. September is Sexual Health Awareness Month, and we thought it’d be a good idea to explore what “sexual health” actually is, as well as how birth control can be a useful tool for taking care of it.
Here’s what “sexual health” is:
According to the American Sexual Health Association, sexual health is “the ability to embrace and enjoy sexuality throughout our lives” and “It is an important part of our physical and emotional health.” It involves:
- Understanding that sexuality is a natural part of life and involves more than sexual behavior.
- Recognizing and respecting the sexual rights we all share.
- Having access to sexual health information, education, and care.
- Making an effort to prevent unintended pregnancies and STIs and seek care and treatment when needed.
- Being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired.
- Being able to communicate about sexual health with others including sexual partners and health care providers.
In many ways, sexual health is about freedom. It’s the freedom to believe that everyone’s sexuality is different, and that there are many different ways of expressing sexuality. It’s the freedom that comes with respecting the sexual rights of others, and our own. And it’s the freedom to access reliable, accurate, and scientific information about sex or a sexual education.
So, what can birth control do when it comes to keeping you sexually healthy? Each of the 16 methods of contraception that are available today offer a variety of benefits that can make sex a more rewarding and fulfilling experience. For many people, there’s concern about getting pregnant or contracting an STI. Thankfully, many methods (which can be used together!) can decrease the chances of either happening, which many folks say makes sex a more enjoyable experience for them.
If you have specific questions about your sexual health, or what you can do to support your sexual health overall, make an appointment to talk to a nearby health care provider. Remember, being sexually healthy also involves communicating your needs to your partners, as well as health care providers.