Whether you celebrate sexual health day on September 4th like the World Health Organization and World Association for Sexual Health or dedicate the entire month to sexual health like The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), you’re in good company. The organizations recognize the importance of sexual health and strive to protect sexual rights, increase sexual educations, and promote sexual pleasure. You can feel empowered by taking charge of your own sexual pleasure and education. Below, you’ll find information about condoms, lube and dental dams, some of the most important sexual health devices at your disposal.
Most people have used the popular internal condom, which slips on over the penis.
Aside from protecting against some sexually transmitted infections (condoms are not 100% effective against STIs spread through skin-to-skin contact such as HPV) and pregnancy, condoms can also be fun. You’ll find condoms with all sorts of special features.
●Flavored and/or scented
Trying out new condom styles can be almost as fun as trying sex toys. Some condoms are so thin they’re nearly possible to detect. Plus, you’ll find a variety of sizes for the perfect fit that’s snug enough to stay on comfortably.
Even those people who have traditionally been unable to use latex condoms because of an allergy have options, thanks to polyisoprene or polyurethane.
When using the more common external condom, it’s important to pinch the reservoir end, if it has one, to remove any air. You can also make it more pleasurable by adding a drop of lube inside the condom before rolling it on.
Not everyone likes external condoms. If you want to take your sexual health into your own hands to protect against pregnancy and STIs by carrying your own condoms, the external condom might be an option. These condoms are tubes that insert into the vagina. They’re quite wide, so you don’t have to worry about a partner being too well endowed. They also extend outside the vaignal canal, offering increased protection against transmitting or contracting HPV.
Many people find these condoms allow sensations to pass more freely, and they won’t trigger latex allergies. However, internal condoms are more expensive than the more common external condom.
If you’ve never used a dental dam, you’re certainly not alone! Many people have never used these squares of latex when performing oral sex on a partner’s vulva or anus. However, STIs can still spread from those activities, and dental dams offer protection.
You’ll find both latex and non-latex options, including flavored options. Adding a bit of lube on the side of the dam that touches your partner’s body can increase sensation. While getting used to a dam can be tricky because you have to hold it in place, it’s well worth it for the benefit to your sexual health.
Finally, lube is a great tool for sexual health, even if you’re not sure how yet. Lube makes things more slippery, which is certainly fun. But it can also reduce pain and tears in your sensitive tissue that you may not even realize are there. Unfortunately, those micro-tears can make it easier for you to contract a bacterial or sexually transmitted infection.
Just like condoms come in many varieties, you’ve got your pick from all sorts of fun lube options!
●Sensation lubricants (warming and cooling/tingling are the most common)
●Hybrid formulas that combine the above bases
Some people are reluctant to use lube because they think they shouldn’t need it. However, anything that makes sex better is a good thing in our book, especially if it prevents harm!
Reconsider These Products
If sexual health is important to you, you might want to reconsider a few products that are common but not necessarily.
These might make anal sex more comfortable, but pain is your body’s sign that something is wrong. You might seriously hurt yourself and not know it if you use them. Plus, it’s better to make sex comfortable and enjoyable, and numbing products take away pleasure, too (this is why prolonging lubes and condoms can decrease satisfaction.
Spermicides sound helpful because they damage sperm to prevent pregnancy. However, products containing these products can damage vaginal tissues, making you more susceptible to infections.
Tightening creams typically work by irritating your sensitive vaginal tissues and causing inflammation. You may feel tighter to your partner, but you’re more likely to experience tears that make you susceptible to infections. And because these products aren’t regulated, you can have reactions from the chemicals in them. Instead, try Kegels to blow your partner’s mind during sex.
Now that you’re armed with information that helps you prioritize your sexual health, it’s time to go out there and get some!