Ahh, the birds and the bees. You’re probably already sat through countless lectures as a teenager that informed you about condoms and contraceptives, so what else is there to know?

Sex is generally a fun activity, but it’s way better when you feel good about yourself — both psychologically and physiologically, too. And sexual health isn’t just about what happens when you hop into bed. When you make an effort to take care of your body, you’re in a better position to develop healthy relationships, experience happiness and enjoy an overall better sense of well-being.

But why is sexual health important, and what significance does it hold specifically for women?

Getting in Touch with Your Sexuality

When you work with — and not against — your body and its desires, you’ll find it easier to obtain the confidence, reassurance and answers you need. One of the primary reasons why sexual health is important is because it empowers women to not only know what they want sexually but to have the courage to fulfill these sexual needs, too — whether by yourself or with your partner.

We are hard-wired to reproduce, and of course there are many factors that can affect how present this drive is in any one person. However, the fact stands that for many people, not being in touch with their sexuality can lead to a lot of confusion and disappointment.

Self-pleasure deepens your mind-body connection and is one of the ultimate forms of self-care. When you know how to give yourself what you need, you know how to instruct others to help you reach your desires (it also makes it to spot selfish lovers and kick them to the curb fast).

Maybe you’re unsure of how to ask for what you want in bed, and that’s okay — many people are, particularly women. But bringing up your sexual desires with your partner doesn’t embarrassing — it’s actually liberating, especially if you’ve been holding those thoughts in for a while.

Expressing your desire is crucial for your sexual health because it ensures that you’re happy and in your best mental state, too. From protection to penetration, your thoughts and desires matter. Let yourself fantasize, and say it out loud! When you say your wants out loud, it takes the shame or feelings of fear out of putting yourself in a vulnerable position.

Enhancing Your Understanding of Your Body’s Abilities

In a society that once thought period blood could rot crops and cause leprosy, it’s no wonder women are afraid to talk about their time of the month. But periods happen because of possible conception — an act which would not be impossible without sex. Reproductive health matters, so it’s important never to leave these topics in the dark.

During both your period and sex, hormones play a crucial role. But did you know that sex actually releases hormones that may make it even easier on your body when Aunt Flo pays her monthly visit? Sex while you’re menstruating doesn’t have to be as messy as people make it seem. If you’re curious about it and your partner is open to the idea, a good starter tip is to try it out first on low flow days.

Many women confess that sex helps them feel less pain before — and during — their period. If the thought of period sex sounds repulsive, it may be helpful to know that more people have sex on their period than those who don’t. So check into the Red Roof Inn over in Funky Town!

Increasing Your Stamina and Strength

If you’re suffering from an embarrassment that’s making it hard for you to get excited in bed, being more aware of your sexual health can often help turn these things around for the better.

One common issue women are likely to experience is incontinence, especially during intercourse. And you don’t have to be older to deal with this stressful issue, either. In fact, nearly 29% of women under 60 admit to urinary incontinence during sex. It’s a combination of pressure on the bladder and stress that disturbs your sex life and confidence.

So maybe you leak a little. That’s okay. People do weirder stuff in bed! When you’re more in touch with your sexual confidence and sexual health, you’re better equipped with the tools necessary to turn your life around in just about any situation.

Because weakened pelvic muscles are often the culprit behind a leaky bladder, practicing Kegel exercises is one simple way to strengthen your muscles, leading to more confidence during sex. And there are many benefits of Kegel exercises that go far beyond the bedroom as well.

In fact, merely having sex can play a hand in helping you feel more robust. Not only does the bond between you and your partner strengthen, but it also lowers your blood pressure and increases your immune system — making you into an overall stronger person, too. Sex can do the whole body much good!

Living Your Healthiest Life

If you weren’t already thrilled about hopping into bed, the health benefits sex brings may change your mind. Not only does sex also make you feel younger but it also may help you live a bit longer too. Getting down in funky town is the elixir of life — who knew?

In order to reap the benefits of sex, you have to want to indulge in sexual activities so that you never feel forced or coerced. Do you have any health complications after or during sex that make it hard to get into the act? Issues such as cramping, discharge and lower abdominal pain after sex should never be ignored.

If an act made for pleasure is causing your discomfort, connect with a gynecologist who can provide you with the medical care you deserve. Your body is a temple and should always be treated as such.

So the next time someone doubts the importance of sex and asks, “Why is sexual health important?” remember to tell them that all parts of your body are crucial — as well as the acts they’re built to engage in. Our lives become better when we’re more aware of everything that makes us human.

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