If your 2009 was anything like mine, you're probably feeling like you're stumbling, rather than gliding, into a new year. While passing through a transition phase, I like to reflect on where I've been and set goals for where I'm going. Maintaining good health will always be a goal of mine. Though I've stuck pretty closely to my resolutions from last year, I think it's good to have a little reminder about how to stay happy and healthy in the new decade. To close out my SharePosts of 2009, and as a welcome to 2010, I have compiled a list of 10 Ways to Have a Healthy Sex Life:
1. Use condoms
Though they can't provide protection against all diseases 100% of the time, male condoms, when used correctly, do significantly reduce risk of STD contraction while simultaneously acting as birth control. Condoms are your friends.
2. Use lubricant
Like Sid and Nancy, or chocolate and marshmallows, lubricant and condoms make a hot pair. Lubricant on the outside reduces the risk of condom breakage, and, in my opinion, often allows for better sex that lasts longer. Who doesn't want that?
3. Ask your partner about his/her sexual health and history
Though condoms are an excellent way to protect oneself from diseases, knowledge is equally as powerful. Have an honest discussion and give your partner the support and comfort he/she may need to disclose personal information.
4. Tell your partner about your sexual health and history
If you have an STD (or two), be open with your partner about it. Believe me, it will save a lot of stress and worry. If you don't have an STD, have a conversation anyway. Just please don't brag about being "clean", it's obnoxious.
5. Don't be afraid to speak up during sex
Sexual health problems may arise from, or be exacerbated by, certain details in your sex life. If you're not in the mood, a particular position is bothersome, or you suspect an outbreak approaching, don't be afraid to let your partner know. You"�ll both be happier for it.
6. Stay in control
Often people blame alcohol or drugs for their lack of good judgment. Don't be that kind of person. If you make poor decisions when you're intoxicated that affect your health or the health of others, maybe you should re-think that next drink or hit.
7. Get regular check-ups
Annual visits to the doctor or gynecologist can prevent small problems from becoming big issues. And if you suspect something has gone sour down south, get it checked out while symptoms are still fresh.
8. Get tested after each partner
Each time you end a relationship with a partner with whom you shared intimacy and exposure, get tested for the usual suspects: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and HIV. Unfortunately, currently there is no test for HPV besides pap smears for women.
9. Get to know yourself
Go ahead, touch yourself. Grab a mirror and look at yourself. Don't be ashamed to check yourself out in times of good health and bad. How much time a year do you spend caring for your hair, your teeth, your arms and legs? Now how about your genitals? Knowing yourself intimately will give you the ability to discern real problems that require a doctor's attention from mild body changes to not lose sleep over.
10. Keep up on health news
Who knows, someday you may open the paper and find that scientists have found a cure for herpes, or have discovered a new link between frequent outbreaks and eating almonds. New information can empower you and improve your quality of life.
I hope these suggestions are useful to you or inspire you to think of others. Good luck and may your new year be filled with much happiness and excellent health