01 Feb Sex IS Good For You
Besides the emotional benefits of spending time with someone you care about, a relationship brings about plenty of opportunities for physical touch and sex. Research shows that people who have sex generally have a greater sense of wellbeing. And it doesn’t have to be penetrative sex, any type of intimacy has the same effects. It’s whatever works for you.
The health benefits of sex
- It’s good for your heart.
- It lowers blood pressure.
- It reduces stress.
- It strengthens your immune system.
LOVE AT ANY AGE
No matter your age, starting a new sexual relationship can be a daunting experience, but remember that having sex is a normal human function and shouldn’t be a stressful experience. What’s most important is to be comfortable with yourself and to practise safe sex.
A good sex life
Often women may have issues relating to sex because of certain factors. How you feel about sex depends on:
- Your physical and psychological health.
- The quality of your relationship.
- Past sexual experiences.
- Effective contraception and safer sex.
- Effective treatment of any physical pain or medical problems.
- Awareness, support and the ability to talk about sex with people you trust.
WHAT ABOUT CONTRACEPTION?
A key part of sex and sexual health is finding the right contraception. It depends on your health, relationship needs and future plans, such as whether you have decided not to have any children, or no more children, and whether you are perimenopausal or post-menopausal.
Contraception to avoid pregnancy is recommended from the time you start to become sexually active until at least one to two years after menopause (or your last period). Some types of contraception like condoms have the added bonus of protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STI).
Spotlight on safer sex
Unprotected sex with your regular partner will only be safe as long as you are both only having sex with each other. Taking precautions to avoid catching an STI is critical, as it can result in serious health problems. An STI is a sexually transmitted infection which is passed on through sexual contact or the exchange of bodily fluids.
Finding out you have an STI can be quite a shock and extremely stressful. Becoming aware of the different infections and what to do if you have unsafe sex or notice any symptoms is vital. If you are in any doubt, talk to your doctor or search online for your nearest sexual health clinic.
STIS DON’T DISCRIMINATE
Anyone can catch an STI, whatever their age or sexual orientation. You are at risk whether it’s the first time you’re having sex or whether you’ve been having it regularly for years. The simple truth is that by not practising safe sex you are putting yourself at greater risk of catching an STI.
AGE & STI’S
Older women starting new relationships for the first time in many years may not think about applying safe sex rules. Having a sexual health check-up is an important part of any new relationship. This can be as simple as a blood test and a urine test. While the benefits of condoms in preventing STIS are obvious, some older couples face difficulties because of physical changes and may need advice from their doctor or sexual health clinic.
DO STIS HAVE SYMPTOMS?
Many people with an STI have no symptoms at all, and they can only be diagnosed through testing. If you have had unprotected sex with a new partner it’s wise to be tested so you can begin treatment immediately before any symptoms or complications develop. If signs and symptoms are present, they may include:
- Unusual fluid from the penis, vagina or anus.
- Itchiness around the genital area.
- A burning sensation when urinating
- A rash, sores or small lumps on or around the penis, vagina or anus.
- Unusual bleeding from the vagina after sex or between periods.
- Pain and swelling in the testicles.
- Pain during sex.
- Sore throat, swollen glands, fever and body aches.
- Unexplained tiredness, night sweats and weight loss.
Take care down there
Condoms are an effective barrier against most STIs. Some STls, such as herpes, genital warts, hepatitis B and pubic lice, may still be spread even if a condom is used, as they are spread by skin-to-skin contact. Hepatitis B and HIV can also be caught through hand or finger cuts that come into contact with infected sperm, vaginal fluids or blood. Oral sex is not the answer to avoiding STIs, as herpes, gonorrhoea and chlamydia can all be transmitted through unprotected oral sex.
CREDIT: Debbie Duncan/AREMEDIASYNDICATION.COM.AU/MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA