Be honest. How would you rate your health when it comes to intimacy, with 5 being “Doing great” to 1 being “The pits.” But don’t answer yet. First, let’s talk about what health in this part of a woman’s life (really) means.
According to the formal definition, sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality—it’s not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Now add in the workings and complexity of your reproductive system—the most fragile system in your body—to get a true rating.
That’s a lot to consider, so where do you begin?
Start with the obvious. How do you feel? Energetic or sluggish? Satisfied or frustrated? If you’re not feeling the way you want to, talk with your healthcare provider. In fact, any concerns you have about your sexual or reproductive health—especially if you’re thinking about getting pregnant—should be discussed with a professional. Other issues to talk about may include:
- Diminished sex drive
- Sexually transmitted disease screenings
- Menopause symptoms
- Incontinence issues
OK, now think about rating yourself. If you’re not where you want to be, there are things you can do right now to improve your sexual health. For example, eating better, dealing with stressors in your life, getting more exercise and more sleep often help. Talking with your partner about your relationship in an open and honest way is part of the equation, too.
But remember, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment and start the conversation with your healthcare provider, knowing that no topic is off limits and that your sexual health is a big part of your overall health and too important to ignore.