Dr. Gillian Dean
Senior Director of Medical Services, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Everyone deserves a sex life that’s pleasurable and healthy, and part of that means taking care of your body. The truth is that many people don’t get the checkups and preventive care they need, regardless of their gender. It can be easy to take our health for granted, but taking charge of your sexual health is an important part of staying safe, healthy and happy.
Here are some places to start.
1. Talk with your partner(s)
Talking to your partners about your likes and dislikes and your boundaries helps you have a satisfying relationship and sex life. Remember that you have the right to say no to any kind of sexual activity — and so do they. Start a conversation about consent so that you both feel comfortable.
2. Get tested
Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a basic part of being healthy and taking control of your sex life, and it’s easier than ever before. STI tests are generally quick, simple and painless. Usually, all you have to do is get a mouth swab or give a urine sample. Getting the HPV vaccine when you’re young can also prevent certain kinds of cancer later in life. Keep in mind that many STIs don’t cause any symptoms, so the only way to know your status for sure is to get tested.
3. Have safer sex
Being responsible and looking out for your health and the health of your partner doesn’t have to take the “sexy” out of sex. In fact, taking care of each other’s health can build intimacy. Using barriers, such as condoms and dental dams, non-oil based lube, and PrEP and PEP can make sex safer and help prevent STIs.
4. Schedule a regular checkup
Just like regular exercise, regular checkups are important for everyone’s health. They can help find problems before they become serious. Don’t wait until you’re sick or experiencing something that feels out of the ordinary to make an appointment. Whether you have a specific health concern or just need a routine exam, you can reach out to health care providers — including Planned Parenthood — for sexual and reproductive services, cancer screenings and general health care.
Planned Parenthood is proud to be a source of sexual and reproductive health care, education and advocacy for men in the United States. We’re here to answer any questions you may have about your sexual health. You can find more information at your local Planned Parenthood health center.
Dr. Gillian Dean, Senior Director of Medical Services, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, [email protected]