Sexual health covers not only medical or reproductive issues but all aspects of sex like sex education, sexual behaviour and sexual attitudes. Therefore, to be sexually healthy, we should have positive and respectful attitudes towards sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships.

In physical terms, sexual health deals with how well one tackles issues such as unplanned pregnancies, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and safer sex practices.

Here are some ways to achieve sexual health:

Related: Getting Support (for STIs)

Understand Your Sexuality

Young woman lying in bed and looking at her boyfriend besides her lovingly

  • Your sexuality is defined by your attitudes and values regarding sexual matters. It spans across a range of issues — from sexual thoughts and actions, to gender identity and roles. These issues are influenced by many factors, from biological, economic, and psychological factors, to social, ethical and religious ones.
  • Understand that you have sexual rights.
  • Singapore laws protect us against sexual violations and discrimination. You also have the right to choose whether you want to be sexually active or not, and you have control over who you want to have sex with and how it is practised.

Understand Your Partner’s Sexuality

Young asian couple cuddling in bed

Because everyone is unique, you’ll have attitudes, feelings and desires that are different from your partner. You can improve your sexual health and pleasure when both of you understand and respect each other’s sexuality. So it is important to try to communicate your views to your partner, and vice versa. When you share what you’re comfortable with and what you want, you are both better prepared for sex.

Related: Resuming Sexual Relations and Contraception

Develop a Healthy Self-esteem

Young asian couple cuddling in bed

Having a healthy self-esteem is to feel good about yourself and be comfortable with who you are. When both partners in a sexual relationship have a healthy self-esteem, acceptance and enjoyment in each other’s presence increases. In contrast, poor self-esteem often leads to unhealthy or even abusive relationships.

Related: Boosting Your Self-Esteem

Practise Safe Sex

Contraceptives on top of a fluffy red heart-shaped pillow

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are contracted during unprotected sex and their symptoms vary widely. You can reduce the risk by practising safe sex, through the use of condoms. However, as condoms do not offer 100% protection, a better option is for a couple to be in a monogamous and faithful relationship. With a reduced risk of contracting STIs, the couple can relax and enjoy a pleasurable, healthy sexual relationship.

Some common STIs are:

  • HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Genital warts

If you suspect that you have an infection, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. It is important to treat STIs/HIV early to reduce complications and stop the spread of infection to others.  Some STIs can be cured, while for AIDS HIV, there is currently no cure.

Related: Getting Support (for STIs)

Take Charge of Your Reproductive Health

Asian woman buying contraceptives from a pharmacy

Sexual health includes being able to have children, and planning when to have them. To look after your reproductive health, visit your doctor or gynaecologist regularly. Practise family planning so you’ll never have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy or about passing an infection to your child.

Talk to Your Child about Sexual Health

Grandmother and mother talking to a young girl about sexual health

Every year, there are cases of teenage sex that result in unwanted pregnancies, abortions and STIs. If you are a parent, keep your child safe from such consequences by educating them on sexual health. It is good to start having conversations on this with your child when they are young, and just beginning to form their values and attitudes towards sex.

In summary, to be in good health, we must pay attention not only to our physical health, but also other aspects such as our mental, emotional, spiritual and sexual health.

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