Medical experts confirm that sexual health is as important to your overall well-being as your physical, mental, and emotional health. But, many times, people mistake sexual health as only pertaining to sex. In reality, sexual health is a broad medical field covering multiple focus areas. The CDC describes it as social, mental, emotional, and physical sexual well-being. What’s more, per the CDC, sexual health is about more than the absence of sexual dysfunction or disease. It is also about sexual health mount pleasant experts helping make your sexuality and sexual relationships enjoyable and fulfilling. Here is a closer look at five ways this can be achieved.
Body Image, Sexual Self-Esteem, and Reproduction
Your body image refers to how you see, what you believe, and how you feel about your body. Similarly, sexual self-esteem is how you see and feel about yourself as a sexual being. In helping you achieve your best sexual health, sexual health providers can help you raise your opinion about your body and sexuality. This may be done through psychotherapy or treatments designed to “improve” your appearance. For example, your doctor can help you manage your weight and diet to improve or maintain your physical appearance.
Gender Identity and Expression
Gender identity refers to how you identify and feel about yourself. You can identify as a female, male, neither, both, transgender, or more. In turn, gender expression is how you express this gender identity. And like your gender identity, it can be constant or fluid. Sexual health providers can help you navigate your gender identity and expression and how they affect your relationships. Moreover, they can help you create healthy intimacy in relationships that respect your gender identity.
Sexuality and Sexual Orientation
Often confused with gender expression, sexuality covers how you express yourself as a sexual being. It covers topics like fantasies, actions, thoughts, and sensuality. It is also closely related to sexual orientation, which includes who you are attracted to romantically, emotionally, and sexually, and how you identify yourself and express your attraction. While society has come a long way in understanding and accepting different sexualities, navigating this aspect of your life can be stressful. Sexual health providers can give you the medical and emotional support you need to do it.
Sexual violence covers instances of coercion and unwanted violence and includes abusive power dynamics, consent, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. It can also include fear of violence and the ability to experience sex or get sexual health without intimidation. Usually, sexual violence issues are covered alongside consent and boundaries. This area of sexual health covers topics like personal boundaries, understanding consent, giving and receiving consent, the legal age of consent, and how to respond when consent is withheld. Consequently, sexual health providers can help you understand and navigate instances of sexual abuse within relationships and other dynamics.
Sexual and Reproductive Health Care
Sexual health also involves the provision and accessibility of sexual and reproductive healthcare. This includes services like transgender care, birth, abortion, birth control, pregnancy testing, pap smears, prostate exams, and HIV and STI testing.
Learn More About Sexual Health
As you can see, sexual health, while often overlooked, is a key part of your overall wellness. It covers all your feelings and functions regarding your sexual interactions and sexuality. Per the CDC, everyone is entitled to sexual health services, including people not currently engaged in sexual activity. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of these topics, visit a sexual health clinic to discuss them with a sexual health provider and get the help you need.