September is sexual health awareness month and to honor the importance to sexual health awareness and in a bid to normalise the conversation and help end the stigma around sex, sexual health and STD’s, I’m going to be talking about safe sex and the importance of looking after your sexual health – which is something I’ve never spoken about on my blog before. Arguably, I could be one of those people contributing towards the stigma by never talking about it before on my platform that has reaches over 10,000 people a month so I think that’s all the more reason to step out of my comfort zone and actually contribute towards a more healthy attitude towards safe sex and sexual health. Phew that was a bit of a mouthful of an opening *pun intended*
I’m obviously not going to go into any details in this post but I do want to actually start a conversation. I was never given “the talk” from my parents about sex and sex education in my school was something to be desired (as I’m sure it is in most schools, frustratingly). I learnt everything I know through… trial and error? Is that the right phrase? Probably not but I was never sat down and taught anything, I just learnt through experience and as I grew up and became sexually active.
And really, that’s not the way to do it, is it? I wish I’d had that proper talk, that proper education and those proper lessons but alas, that wasn’t to be in my case. I first became sexually active fairly young – probably because from a fairly young age, I had a huge group of friends, who had older friends and we would all hang out together in the town of a weekends. Reaching up to 50 people some days. There was a lot of us, a lot of guys, a lot of gals and a lot of relationships, tension, crushes, you name it and it was happening somewhere in our group.
In full transparency, my first time sucked and I wish I had waited. I’ve never done anything I regret, sexually but I do with some things had gone a little differently. I’ve visited a sexual health clinic and the doctors a number of times for various things, including contraception, STD checks and various other things that needed to be sorted. I know how nerve-wracking it can be to talk about things which seem so private. Here are some tips for if you’re nervous about going to a clinic or the doctors about anything to do with sexual health:
- Get an appointment at a time where the clinic or the doctors won’t be as busy
- Take someone with you (a parent, if you feel comfortable or a friend if not)
- Practice breathing techniques if you’re feeling particularly anxious
- Take some water with you to sip on so you stay hydrated and feel well
- Remember that the doctor or nurse you’re speaking to has heard it all before (and heard worse!)
- It’s always better to get something checked and sorted than to not – so consider it an act of self care!
It’s really important to get anything unusual checked out and anything that doesn’t feel “normal” to you. Because most STD’s can be treated fairly easily! Any persistent itching, stinging or burning. Any rashes, lumps, bumps or growths. Or if you know you’ve recently had unprotected sex and something doesn’t feel quite right – it’s always better to be safe! You should always be tested regularly if you have sex with multiple people and even if you don’t, it’s always worth both you and your partner to be checked every so often.
Get checked with STD Check
With other 4,500 centers across the country (this service is currently only available in the US unfortunately but there will be plenty of alternatives for UK / European folk) you can find a suitable lab near you to make it as quick and effortless as possible. All you have to do is:
- Order your test/s online or by calling 1-800-456-2323
- Visit your appropriate center and have your tests done in just 5 minutes, FDA-approved, confidential with same-day testing available.
- Get your results within 2 days by email, so no having that scary trek to the doctors to find out your results
STD check are a convenient way for people on the go to get checked and stay on top of their sexual health. With so many clinics available and same-day testing, it’s ideal to slot into your daily routine and the quick results means not having the worry of waiting – which I think we can all agree is incredibly nerve-wracking.
Did you get a good sexual health education? Do you think it should be taught more in schools?
* This post is sponsored by STD Check