Running……. cycling……..swimming………having sex? Not your typical workout but one that should be at the top of your list! Many people are striving to find that perfect balance between physical and mental health, but how does sexual health factor into that equation?
What are the physical health benefits of sex? Sex is a major stress reliever. Sex burns calories and counts as exercise! It improves blood flow and blood pressure, cardiovascular health, boosts immunity, and increases flexibility. A good workout between the sheets can also help you get a better night’s sleep.
Relieving stress has a positive effect on mental health such as decreasing anxiety, nervousness, and increasing concentration. Having sex boosts self-esteem and overall well-being as it contributes to closeness, intimacy and the feeling of being “wanted.”
9 tips to keep sex safe and satisfying:
1. Communicate openly with your partner(s). Discuss topics like sexually transmitted infections (STIs), birth control and sexual preferences.
2. Maintain or improve sexual function by staying healthy. This includes things like smoking cessation, having a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and getting enough sleep.
3. Discuss your sexual health with a health care professional. Find a provider you are comfortable with and one you can have an open and honest conversation with.
4. If you are experiencing any STI symptoms, see a health care professional. This includes: sexual dysfunction, bumps, rashes, lesions, odour, abnormal discharge, burning when you urinate, pain during sex, irritation and itchiness.
5. Many STIs won’t have any symptoms and the only way to know is through simple testing. Get tested before intimacy with a new sexual partner and any time you think you may be at risk (any unprotected sexual contact, condom breaks, etc).
6. Sex it Smart! Experiment with different condoms, barriers, lubricants, and safer sex options to find what works for you and your partner(s). Would you play hockey without a helmet? Bench press without a spotter? Why have sex without being safe?
7. Use effective contraception if you or your partner are at risk of pregnancy. There are many different methods of birth control, find what works best for you and your partner(s).
8. Stay informed and know your risks. Certain populations, geographical locations, and sexual acts carry higher risks. Check out some of the resources below for up-to-date information on sexual health.
9. And don’t forget to have fun!