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Sexual well-being: How to embrace and take care of yourself

Living in a state of sexual wellness is more than just achieving the next Big O.

We live in a society where sex is sacred yet taboo— where nobody tells it as it is, even though it's just one click away. 

Fortunately, that’s starting to change. As we slowly recognize the importance of self-care, some people are also beginning to embrace sex as a natural part of our overall wellness.

Why do we have to break the silence around our sexual well-being anyway? It’s important for us to understand that women, like men, have sexual needs and desires. And these are more than just about getting an orgasm, let alone pleasing our partner.

To experience all the sexual pleasures that our life has to offer, we also have to examine our own self-esteem, relationships, and boundaries that define our moments between the sheets.

All is well-being

It’s a buzzword we hear thrown around pretty much everywhere, but what does it truly mean?

Sexual well-being consists of your personal views and experience of your own sexuality. It’s shaped by your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and knowledge about the matter, as well as the relationships you form out of it. In other words, sexual well-being is more than just an act— it’s a way of life.

People with a dull sex life tend to bury themselves in their work, which gives them even less time to get more action in the bedroom.

According to the Global Advisory Board (GAB) for Sexual Health and Well-being, it has three essential parts: sexual health, sexual pleasure, and sexual rights.

Sexual health

Firstly, sexual health refers to the physical condition of your body, especially your sexual organs. It’s all about your body’s ability to engage in sex or even bear children if that’s your goal. 

Infections and diseases that compromise your health would certainly get in the way of your sexual experience as a whole.

Sexual pleasure

Then comes the part that's probably most familiar to you. Sexual pleasure is, simply put, the satisfaction you get out of erotic escapades, whether they’re solo or shared. 

Of course, a lot of it can be influenced by your sexual health. But more importantly, it goes hand in hand with your self-esteem and body image. It has a lot to do with how you relate your own sexuality to who you are.

Sexual rights

Last but not least are your sexual rights, which ground the context of both your sexual health and sexual pleasure. These remind you of your own integrity, that you’re in control of your own body. 

They also enable you to live true to your own gender identity and sexual orientation without fear of discrimination. Asserting your sexual rights is all about making the deed a positive experience for everyone involved.

What do all of these mean for us women? It can be overwhelming to find ourselves stuck in a dilemma at some point in our sex lives. That’s precisely why we need to start working towards our sexual well-being in a more open-minded manner.

Whether you’re thinking about having sex for the first time, exploring your sexual orientation, or choosing the best form of contraception for you, the most important part is for you to be able to decide for yourself.

The sexy benefits

Increased awareness about sexual well-being has raised our demand for products that improve our experience. In fact, a report by The Express Wire in The Market Watch predicts that the global sexual wellness market is expected to be worth $64.6 billion by 2023, three years from now.

That’s not to say that we no longer encounter problems. Social stigma is still one of the hurdles we must surpass to reap the rewards of a well-rounded sexual being. It’s all too common for us to hear from sources that overemphasize the risks of sex, such as unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

But all these overlook the many more benefits of being sexually active. So what can you get out of adopting a more positive sexual expression [7, 8]?

  • Sex decreases the risk of cancer, especially breast cancer among women. You’d have oxytocin and DHEA, which are associated with arousal and orgasm, to thank for this health perk!
  • There's a significant correlation between lack of enjoyment in sex and a history of heart attack. You're more likely to suffer heart problems without positive sexual well-being!
  • Both solo and partner play increase satisfaction within a relationship altogether, especially among married partners.
  • Increased sexual desire contributes to the overall wellness of women. A 2002 analysis of adults in their midlife showed that previous positive sexual experiences improved their quality of life throughout their later years.
  • There's a positive correlation between a satisfying sex life and longevity. For instance, in one study, women who reported enjoying sex in the past lived longer than those who did not.

With pleasure

Just as sexual well-being covers a lot of aspects, we also need to apply holistic measures that can improve our experience in meaningful ways. It may not always be very easy to accomplish in a conservative country like ours, but we should never have to compromise our health, pleasure, and integrity.

What can you do whenever you're engaging in any form of sexual activity? Here are some good ideas:

  • Be your own person. You control your own body, so you must remember that nobody else can tell you what to do with it. Always feel free to make your own informed choices on gender identity, sexual orientation, and relationship preferences.
  • Practice consent. All parties, including you, should actively agree that you want to be a part of it. You always have the right to revoke your consent at any point in time that the arrangement becomes uncomfortable for you. No means no!
  • Have "the talk." Learn to discuss your thoughts and feelings with your partner, even outside the context of your sexy time! You’ll find this essential to understanding each other, especially within the context of a committed relationship.
  • Play it safe. Be aware of your options for safe sex, such as condoms. These will prevent unwanted pregnancy or STDs. Also, have regular checkups to keep yourself and your partner ready to tumble!

Sexual well-being is clearly more than just achieving the next Big O. At its core, it’s all about promoting female sexuality and allowing for a safe and enjoyable context for doing the deed.

After all, wellness is all about allowing ourselves to enjoy the pleasures in life— just like sex.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is sexual well-being, and is it the same thing as sexual health?

Sexual well-being is the entirety of your personal views and experience on your own sexuality. It’s shaped by your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and knowledge about the matter, as well as the relationships you form. Sexual well-being is a way of life, and sexual health is only one part of it.

What are the major components of sexual well-being?

First, you have sexual health, which pertains to your body’s physical condition. Then there’s the sexual pleasure or satisfaction you get from every erotic encounter. Last but definitely not least, sexual rights exist to ensure that every sexual activity is a positive experience for everyone involved.

What would a woman with strong sexual well-being be like?

A woman with strong sexual well-being is someone who’s in a good physical condition. She has to be able to draw firm and healthy boundaries with her positive self-esteem. She also enjoys all of her sexual experiences, whether she’s going solo or sharing the fun with someone else.

Is it alright for me to have sex without commitment?

It’s perfectly fine for you to look for a hookup or even friends with benefits, so long as this arrangement is clear and comfortable for you and the other party. Just don’t feel pressured to be in one if you don’t feel ready or safe enough.

Why is it important for me to engage in safe sex?

Safe sex protects the physical health of both you and your partner. It’ll protect you and your partner from bad consequences, like unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). You know how the popular saying goes: Better safe than sorry!

What are some good ways for me to establish my sexual boundaries?

Communication is key. Be comfortable enough to talk with your partner about what you like and you don’t like, then work a safe arrangement for both of you. You can always revoke your consent when you want out— no means no! It’s your body, so nobody else can dictate what you can do with it.

Posted by Prism Kristensen

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