I don’t see enough of a conversation on sexual health. So many health, wellness and fitness bloggers and rarely, if ever, do I see a post or a nod to sex and/or sexual health. It is a sensitive and a private topic, and I understand that not everyone is comfortable or willing to start the dialogue. Historically, women were not permitted to have good sex, and we certainly were not supposed to talk about it. I used to feel a lot of shame about my sexual activity, and while I may find myself blushing or wondering if i am oversharing, I know this is one of the most important things we could ever talk about.
LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX
Do I have it?
I do. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not having enough sex, or if I'm having too much. I recall all of those magazines that I used to read and how they spelled out how to "keep your man happy" through various means of pleasure. UGH. Remember, there is a very broad range of "normal", so explore what your natural preferences are and find your own "normal".
Hormones dictate a lot about us. They especially dictate your menstrual cycle, your libido and how they both function. If you think you might have hormonal imbalances, or if you are living with poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), I have heard good things about Womancode, a book by Alisa Vitti. I have been considering reading this book because I am increasingly interested in healing my body through nutrition, and I do wonder if I suffer from a hormone imbalance.
SPEAKING OF MENSTRUAL CYCLES
I really love the free “P Tracker Life” app – this lets me keep track of when my period started and stops as well as allowing me to see a guesstimate of when I am fertile, and to place a marker on days that I am intimate. This feature is typically most useful for women that are trying to get pregnant, which I am not, but I still like to be able to look and see what the patterns are. I really encourage you to get familiar with your body as much as possible. Which means ditching pads and tampons and trying out a menstrual cup. More on my experience and thoughts about cups here.
A quick word on infections:
I struggled with recurring UTI's and yeast infections, to the point where I would rather opt out of sex in order to avoid them. I got to a point where I knew antibiotics were not the answer, and I was tired of doctors offering that as the only fix. Thankfully, I read about D-Mannose. D-Mannose is actually a type of sugar derived naturally from plants. You can find supplements to take orally. These have been an actual life-saver for me. I am very happy to report that I have not had a single UTI since incorporating D-Mannose, and I do not even have to take it every day. In fact, I don't even bother at all when I am on my period. Find what works for you, but if you struggle with UTI's - I recommend this natural supplement over antibiotics, any day.
WHAT ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL?
I will be the first person to tell you to avoid synthetic birth control. I encourage you to do the research on your own, as there are multitudes of websites/doctors/medical sources that will say opposing things. I am not a medical professional. You must make this decision for yourself. You and only you should decide what you put into your body. Only you should decide if you wish to supplement with synthetic hormones and pills. I personally choose to take no contraceptive pills or to use synthetic hormone therapy of any kind. I did, however. From age 16-23, I was on the pill and dealt with a plethora of health/emotional uproars because of it. My doctor made it seem like it was the only choice. It was what everyone else seemed to do, so I did the same. My body is still stabilizing after the years of ups and downs that I put it through from birth control. I highly suggest you reconsider your birth control options. There is nothing more rewarding than identifying with a greater self awareness of your body! It makes me feel powerful and beautiful and strong.
SO WHAT DO I USE FOR BIRTH CONTROL?
I currently use the copper IUD, also known as Paragard. It is a non-hormonal IUD which will remain effective for 10-12 years. I actually blogged about my experience, and you can read more on that here. My period is as regular as a period could ever be, and I am so grateful. However, I did stop having a period for almost a full year after taking the hormonal pill coupled with poor nutrition and over-exercising.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HAIR DOWN THERE?
THOUGHTS ABOUT MASTURBATION?
Again, you belong to yourself. Do what you want. Everyone's sexuality develops in different ways and each of us has our own preferences. Some of us are very sexually active and others do not feel the need to have sex. Some of us don't feel sexual at all, and prefer to have non-sexual relationships. If you feel like pleasuring yourself, my vote is always "yas!". If you want to purchase one (or more) vibrators or dildos, do it! If you want specific recommendations from me in this department, please feel free to message me on Instagram.
LEARNING WHAT TURNS YOU ON
Part of familiarizing yourself with your natural preferences is understanding and exploring your sexuality. We can do this in many ways. A wonderful tool that I came across recently was the Erotic Blueprint quiz. You can take the quiz here. Essentially, there are five blueprints: energetic, sensual, sexual, kinky, and shapeshifter. I scored nearly the same for both shapeshifter (turned on by and can play in all of the blueprints) and kinky (people who are turned on by taboo, this includes anything that feels taboo to the specific person). This quiz was helpful to me because although I somewhat knew that about myself, I wouldn't have understood it on the level that the quiz results spell out. Perhaps you feel conflicted that you are sexually aroused by being dominated in bed, and wonder what that means for you in the age of #MeToo. This piece in The New York Times addresses that in detail.