By The Ovee Team
September 16 - 20 is Sexual Health Awareness Week, folks, and we want to talk about what ~exactly~ that means. Personally, we believe in sexual wellness, which is MORE than just safe sex or getting testing frequently.
It's that, PLUS having healthy conversations about consent, exploring your own body and figuring out what you like (or don't!), or even abstaining from sex for a while if your mind and body need a break. To us, it's the intersection of our physical health when it comes to our sexual health and our emotional, mental and interpersonal wellbeing.
So we asked ourselves: what does sexual wellness mean to us?
Honestly, I’m still learning what sexual wellness means to me. I started having sex at a young age, but I never fully understood what it meant to be “sexually well” until a few years ago. I lost my virginity when I was fifteen, and at that point, no one had talked to me about consent, or protection (beyond the abstinence-only education I received that told me condoms weren’t THAT safe), or how to have sex that was also pleasurable for me. For a while, sex felt like a performance I had to put on to entertain my (mostly male) partners.
Now, I understand that pleasure is something I have a right to — and I have a say of if, when and how I receive it. Right now, I'm learning how to reclaim the role sex has played in my life and relationships and unlearning the idea that sex = intimacy.
Sexual wellness means something different for everyone. For me it’s all about listening to my body and my mind. Sometimes it’s doing things that feel good – taking breaks, treating myself, having sex, masturbating. Sometimes it’s doing uncomfortable things that will ultimately benefit me in the long run – getting tested for STIs, having open and hard conversations with myself and other people.
To me, sexual health is all about peace of mind. Sometimes that means getting necessary STI tests, but it can also mean taking care of myself mentally and emotionally with (or without) a partner. I am usually working with a lot of general anxiety and a big part of being sexually healthy is figuring out how my anxiety is manifesting within my sex life.
As I get older, I’m working on being honest with myself about what I want / need and how I can effectively communicate that to a partner.
Photos by: Rachel Cabitt
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