Our sexual health is not something to be taken lightly, or taken for granted. We exist during a time where sexual expression and freedom are glorified, and promiscuity is the rule. While notions about coupling between humans suggest that we are liable to participate in casual sex, it is imperative to consider the personal and public health implications of sexual decadence.
For those of us who are sporting a map of Tasmania below the belt, having a sound relationship with a trusted gynecologist is vital. I don’t mean you should have your doc on speed dial so you can get them on the horn every time you’ve made it to second base with a new devotee. But regularly attending annual examinations, and maintaining up to date Pap smears and STD tests is central in maintaining your sexual health and being a responsible collaborator in the copulating department.
Annual: meaning, to take place once a year at least. During this visit with your doctor expect to undergo a pelvic exam, breast exam, and any screenings your provider deems necessary. If you love your pussy, it should be a priority. Ensuring that your vagina is on the up and up is essential. Even if you are not sexually active, or you are not having vaginal intercourse with a penis and are at no risk of becoming pregnant, your box should still undergo regular safety inspections.
A vaginal Pap smear is usually done on an annual basis, however if you receive abnormal results (or if you are really worried that you’ve been exposed to HPV) this screening can be repeated in six months. Pap smears can be taken from both your cervix and your anus, and by testing cells regularly the incidence of cancer in sexual organs is significantly decreased. HPV is awfully common, and if you are participating in sex with multiple partners, chances are you will become exposed. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to speak to your gynecologist during your exam about the possibility of an HPV vaccination. Gardisil is licensed by the FDA and recommended by the CDC. (And if you’ve got a man at home, this vaccination has been approved for use in males as well.) HPV leads to cancer. But don’t fear it, instead put up a fight.
The annual visit with your gynecologist is also a sensible time to have labs taken. In one blood sucking session with your gyn you can be tested for Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. In fact, at most facilities rapid HIV testing is available. With just a swab of your gums and a twenty-minute wait you can have HIV test results securely in your hand. These results (no matter the outcome) should be discussed with each of your sexual partners. Even if you are using protection, everyone who you sleep with has the right to know what he or she may be exposed to.
Medicine has done a remarkable job at keeping up with the menacing side of sex. Of course, condoms are indispensable, and should always be used every single time. But in the event that an accident does happen, you don’t have to lose sleep over the horror that your playmate is a far-reaching biohazard. Instead of playing Petri dish, get right to the gyno, and find out exactly what you are dealing with and if and how you should be treated.
Sexual expression is the norm as promiscuous pioneers assure us that our basest urges are instinctive. If you are responsible, straightforward and safe, there is no reason why you should be fearful of proudly demonstrating your sexuality.