When you think about self care, what comes to mind? Bubble baths, long walks to get your steps in, pausing for deep breaths…. What about orgasms? At carafem, we believe sexual health is just as important as mental or physical and sometimes it needs a little boost!
If you’re not quite sure where to start, here are easy ways to incorporate self-care into your sexual health routine.
1. Start with a Sexual Health Wellness Check-in
A crucial aspect of taking care of your sexual health, and your health in general, is prioritizing your wellness. If you are sexually active, then you are at risk for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, so make sure you and any partners are getting tested. Most sexually transmitted infections have no signs or symptoms, so it’s important to get tested even if you feel fine. carafem has a variety of testing options available for those not sure where to start. You can also schedule a birth control visit and have a real (and we mean REAL) convo about which birth control option may be best for you and your sexual lifestyle.
2. Focus On You
Taking care of your sexual health is more than just STI testing and preparing yourself with birth control; it’s also about discovering yourself. What you like and what you want to incorporate to maximize pleasure. Masturbation and self-care go hand-in-hand, so don’t be afraid to spend much-needed time with yourself. Masturbation is a form of stress relief and can be self-soothing if you’re dealing with anxiety or stress. However, if you’ve never spent quality time downstairs, it might seem overwhelming—but it’s all about trial and error. Play with your clitoris! Try different fingering combinations… No two bodies are the same, and what works for your partner or friend, won’t always work for you. Integrating sex toys can also provide more pleasure and help you understand your body and what you enjoy. Regardless of whether you integrate sex toys or just go completely solo, masturbating can have wonderful effects on your overall health.
3. Your Mental Health Matters
If you’re having a hard time connecting to your sexuality or your sexual health, don’t worry — that’s totally normal! For many, mental health plays a major role in how they connect with their sexual health. Although talking about the importance of your sexual health helps normalize it for those dealing with mental health issues that cause bedroom-related anxieties, it can be a harder conversation to have. If you’re experiencing elevated anxiety, depression, or OCD be aware these can cause sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction, orgasm orders, vaginal dryness, and a slew of other difficulties. Talk to a professional if you find yourself struggling to work through any of these issues, or are having a tough time with your mental health. For those seeking virtual treatment, online therapy is a great service that works with your busy schedule. Seeking professional help is a form of self-care and will lead to the betterment of your sexual health.
4. Communicate What You Want
So you’ve done some STI testing, you’re on a method of birth control, you’ve played with yourself. Fantastic work! If you also have a sex partner, communicating what you want can be the hardest part. Orgasms on your own are fun but if you have a sexual partner, communication is key to finding your groove. We suggest starting with a conversation around consent, and what actions feel comfortable to you. Remember that consent can change from day to day, so although you may want to try one thing one day, that doesn’t mean you always want it. Check out this blog for some good tips around having consent conversations.
Once both parties feel comfortable with their choices, think about one thing you could ask your partner to do that would put you over the top… and then ask them for it! If you’d like, warm up by telling your partner what they’re doing feels really good, then pop the question! It may feel a little awkward at first, but you’ll forget it in no time 😉
5. Know Your Options Just in Case Birth Control Fails
Having open communication will put you both at ease, and allow you to focus on what’s happening in the bedroom, but as we said before, things happen. If you are having sex with someone who can get you pregnant and your birth control fails, don’t let panic take over. If you think you could get pregnant and don’t want to be, first check out your emergency contraception options. From taking Plan B or other generic EC to getting a copper IUD, you have some options here. And if you are too far along for emergency contraception and you’re already pregnant, again, don’t stress! You’ve got friends at carafem. We offer both in-office and at-home abortion care in select states. The medically-supported, at home abortion care service is discreet and gives you a chance to talk one-on-one to a trusted medical provider. Having self-management of your sexual health will take the worry away and let you focus on the moment while making you feel more confident in decisions.
Self-care is all about promoting a healthier lifestyle in every aspect of your life, so don’t let sexual health fall by the wayside. Being true to yourself and giving yourself the freedom to explore different aspects of your sexuality and sexual health will help you feel fulfilled and most importantly — live without judgment.