What Are Some Ways to Improve Your Sexual Health?
In 2010, the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) established World Sexual Health Day, which has been celebrated each September 4th since then. Initially, the idea behind World Sexual Health Day was to create greater social awareness about sexual health as well as to reduce and eventually eliminate the stigma around discussing sexuality.
Often, topics such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), condom use, and sexual dysfunction come to mind when people think of sexual health. While these are all very important topics, sexual health extends beyond preventing STIs and addressing sexual dysfunction. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being related to sexuality, not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity.”
With this definition in mind, the following are some ways you can improve your sexual health in honor of World Sexual Health Day:
Experiment with a partner or through masturbation.
The best way to determine what feels good for you during sex is to experiment through masturbation or with a willing partner. If you are feeling underwhelmed by your current sexual routine, consider adding a personal lubricant, trying a new sexual position, or using a sex toy such as a vibrator. Masturbation also has several health benefits including stress reduction, pain relief, and the improvement of sleep, mood, concentration, and partnered sex.
Practice mindfulness and being present during sex.
Engaging your mind is as important as engaging your body during sex. Distracting or anxious thoughts can impair a person’s sexual functioning, making it more difficult for a person to experience pleasure or reach orgasm. Therefore, practicing mindfulness by focusing on the sensations and feelings of sexual activity while remaining mentally present during sex can improve a person’s sexual experiences.
Enjoy your sexuality and experience pleasure.
Sometimes, people can get too caught up in ideas of what sexual experiences should be or how they should feel (e.g., the idea that sex should always end in an orgasm). These beliefs can be limiting and may actually end up hindering your sexual experiences. Instead, allow yourself to feel pleasure and enjoy your sexual experiences in whatever form they may take.
Make lifestyle changes that support your sex life.
There are several things you can do in your day-to-day life that may improve your mood, energy, hormone levels, mental health, and cardiovascular health, all of which can also improve your sexual health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, losing weight, and/or getting enough sleep are all positive habits that have benefits for your sexuality.
Consider sex therapy for sexual problems.
Sex therapy is an effective way for individuals and couples to resolve their sexual problems like performance anxiety, sexual boredom, sexual dysfunction, or communication issues. Overcoming these challenges with the help of a knowledgeable therapist can pave the way for a more satisfying relationship and sex life.
- World Association for Sexual Health (WAS). (2022). World Sexual Health Day: Let’s Talk Pleasure! https://worldsexualhealth.net/world-sexual-health-day/
- World Health Organization (WHO). (2022). Sexual health. https://www.who.int/health-topics/sexual-health