When we think sexual health… Do we actually know what it encompasses? Sexual health is incredibly complex, but should be looked at by the physical, emotional, environmental, and social elements that affect our general & sexual wellbeing. If you’re sexually active, sexual health should be on your mind - let’s get into it with this month’s spicy Ask Julieta!
“What exactly is sexual health? Is it more physical or mental?”
Sexual health is both physical & mental (amongst other really important factors). When we talk about sexual health, we usually just think about STI prevention + contraception. While this is very useful, other things come to play: How about your pleasure? Communication around sex? Honest conversations with partners? I invite you to think of sexual health as overall health: It affects all aspects of our life.
“How do I ask a ONS if they’ve been tested without ruining the mood?”
Ahhhh, the tricky elephant in the room! I’m going to make a bold suggestion: Make it an intention with all partners, even ONS, to talk about sexual health (it can be brief) before even starting the hookup. The most common mistake I see is asking someone their status when you’re already starting to get it on. This doesn’t give either parties time to think, make good judgement calls, and can add pressure.
If you’re thinking about going home together, a really casual and positive “I am looking forward to hooking up. What’s your sexual health status? I got tested last on (X). It would make me more comfortable to know yours).
If for any reason that’s a mood killer, you gotta run away - not fuck - this person lol.
“How often do you think someone should really get tested”
This can be tricky to answer, because it’s so situational. I always suggest getting tested every 3 months or 2 weeks after unprotected sex with a partner. If you’re having frequest sex with multiple partners, and use protection, every 3 months should be super dandy & responsible on your part (encourage your partners to do the same).
Also, mistakes happen - if you have a ONS and didn’t use protection don’t stress, just get tested a couple of weeks after. This keeps you and your current partners safe.
“If sex is painful, at what point should I see a doctor?”
Babe, sex should not be painful in the slightest (unless you want it to be). Any bit of discomfort, especially pain, should be taken seriously since your sexual health and pleasure matter. Go ASAP.
“I’m a man with low sexual desire. Is this normal??”
This is totally normal - our sexual desire, or libido, fluctuates from person to person. Society has conditioned us to believe that men are ravenous, sex craving animals - when the reality is some of us are, and some of us ar not. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your sexual health, it just means you have lower desire.
Of course, if this low sexual desire is getting in the way of experiences or connections you wish to have, consider speaking to a doctor. Unwanted low sexual desire can be a side effect of medication, mental health fluctuations, hormone fluctuations, and even diet. They can help steer you in the right direction.