Sexual health is a complex yet critical part of our overall health. But as women, between the multitude of contraception options at our disposal to having to navigate the ups and downs of hormonal imbalances, we are constantly faced with new scenarios and problems that we often don’t feel fully equipped to deal with.
Women all over the world are forced to suffer in silence, whether it’s out of shame or embarrassment or simply not knowing there’s a problem in the first place. But here’s the thing: even if you’re a complete ‘sexpert’, there are always new things to learn about sexual health.
From the act itself to the importance of scheduling routine sexual check-ups, keep reading as we walk you through 8 important things all women need to know about sexual health.
- Sexual Satisfaction Differs For Everyone
While the media generally pushes one version of sexual satisfaction which starts and ends with sex, it really differs from person to person. Some people are happy with more quality time over more sexy time, while others are only satisfied when trying something wild and new in the bedroom every week. These factors vary based on the type of relationship you’re in, your own feelings about yourself, your cultural or religious upbringing, and other factors. The best way to have a fun and healthy sex life is by being open and honest with your partner about your needs, desires, and compatibility.
- Pap Smears Do NOT Test For Most STIs
Many women think that if they get their yearly pap smear, they’re all good for sexual health check-ups. False! Pap smears only test for abnormal cervical cells that may be caused by HPV. However, if you’re having sex, particularly if it’s with multiple partners, you should be getting checked for STI’s in between partners, or at least once a year. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can be checked with one test, since they usually don’t have with any symptoms. Every other STI is checked in their own individual test. So, whether you’re feeling any symptoms or not, you should be going to your doctor regularly to get checked.
- Lube Can Be Your Best Friend If You Let It
One big problem with porn is that it doesn’t usually show the lube that performers often need in order to get busy, which in turn creates a false perception that women should always be wet on command, especially if they haven’t reached menopause yet. The truth is that around 17% of women aged 18-50 experience vaginal dryness even before menopause. This could be for many reasons – stress, not being sexually aroused enough, or even as a side effect from certain hygiene products. Regardless, having lube on hand and being willing to incorporate it into your sex can be a lifesaver, turning sex from an uncomfortable, irritating act into a smoother, more pleasurable experience for you.
- Kissing Comes With Plenty Of Health Benefits
When we think of kissing, many of us get transported back to simpler times of first dates and meeting our high school sweetheart by the lockers in between classes. However, did you know that kissing (even just a cheek smooch to your family and friends) comes with a ton of health benefits?
Firstly, it releases oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin, which are also known as your ‘happy hormones’ since they promote feelings of affection and bonding, while also decreasing your cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Kissing also has a ton of physical health benefits such as soothing headaches, boosting your immune system and even reducing anxiety.
- Good Sex Can Improve Your Bladder Control
Women, especially those who have had children, know the importance of having a strong pelvic floor. It’s important for avoiding incontinence, which is the loss of bladder control – in other words, when you accidentally piss when you cough or laugh. But when you have good sex and orgasm, the contractions that occur in those muscles strengthens them, thus doubling as a workout for your pelvic floor muscles.
- Every Woman Has a Go-To Move to Orgasm, So Find Yours
Trying new things and mixing it up is wonderful. However, you’ve probably found a favorite position or move that gets you seeing stars every time, without fail. Being aware of your sweet spots and how to stroke them is crucial for getting an orgasm whenever you need one.
That said, your go-to can also change at any point. Maybe one day you decide to experiment with anal play, and find yourself shortly after sporting an anal plug every time you stimulate your clitoris for that earth-shattering orgasm. Don’t be afraid to keep evolving sexually! If you need help choosing a good anal dildo, HotCherry has a helpful guide.
- You Feel Less Pain During Sex
During sex, the body’s natural painkillers (also known as endorphins) are released, particularly during orgasm. This could explain why hair pulling and spanking feels so good during sex, while it would otherwise hurt. Your pain threshold can significantly increase during arousal, which is why it’s considered a great temporary reliever to menstrual cramps and headaches.
- The Clitoris Varies In Shapes And Sizes On Different Women
It’s no surprise that most women can’t orgasm from penetration alone – most women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm. What many women don’t know is that the clitoris varies in size and shape – some are hidden under the hood, and some stick out. Some are more sensitive and prefer to be touched softly and others prefer a lot of pressure. It takes time to get to know your clitoris and all the different ways you can stimulate it. Sometimes, you may learn new things it likes through new sexual partners or toys. Take your time and get familiar with your clitoris, while paying attention to what irritates it and what makes it tingle with pleasure. Remember, the word ‘clitoris’ derives from the Greek word for ‘key’ – getting to know your clitoris may just be the key to unlocking your best sex life forever.