A New Years Resolution for your Sexual Health!

by Shawna Scott January 08, 2016

New Years resolutions suck. More and more the message has become one of telling us there is something wrong with us whether it's our weight, clothes, bitten nails, etc. Seriously, how many years has my resolution been to stop biting my nails? I'm done with it.

The most important relationship we will have in our lifetime is with ourself and our own body, and sexual health is a huge, important part of that relationship. So for 2016, I'd like to suggest we all take steps to look after our sexy bits - both physically and mentally. 

Go for a cervical screening and breast exam

In Ireland cervical screenings are free for women between the ages of 25-60, and should be done once every 3 years. If you're unsure of how give yourself a monthly breast exam, ask your GP to show you. These 2 exams are so important! I've personally known several women, including my younger sister, whose lives were saved by early detection of breast or cervical cancer. Yet it amazes me the amount of women I've spoken to who have never gotten their screenings done. I'll take a few seconds of slight discomfort over potential cancer any day!

To check when you're due for your next cervical screening, go to CervicalCheck.ie and type in your PPS number and date of birth.

Masturbate more

 

Put down your phone! Put down your computer! Turn off the telly! Go to your bedroom and rub one out! I'm serious. I'll wait. Instead of being a wanker on the internet, you could actually be wanking, and it's so much better for your health! It releases endorphins, helps you de-stress, relieves head aches, helps prevent prostate cancer (if you have a prostate), helps strengthen your pelvic floor, and generally feels pretty darn awesome. Whether it's with a toy, your hand, or someone else's hand, there's no wrong way of doing it so long as it's all consensual. 

Go get an STI screening

Whether you're single or in a relationship, if you're sexually active it's important to get checked at least once per year. It shows that you care, not only for your own sexual health, but that of your partner(s) as well. It's also a great opportunity to open up a dialogue with your doctor about any questions you might have regarding sexual health both physical and mental. As microbiologist Patrick Tuffy explains in the video above, healthcare professionals view STI's in the same way they view and treat any other sort of bodily infection. However if you don't feel comfortable asking your regular GP for an STI screening, there are a number of great clinics around Ireland that specialise in sexual health like Well Woman Centre and the Irish Family Planning Association. Spun Out have also created a great list of clinics nationwide that offer free STI screenings. 
Talk about Sex!
This is obviously my favourite thing to do, but it's something we as a country could possibly do more of. I was recently a guest on the Irish Times Women's Podcast where we discussed Ireland's history of silence and shame around sex, and our hesitancy to talk about it openly even today. Communicating with your partner(s) about the kinds of sexual acts and/or kinks that you're into or not into is the best way to ensure a happy sex life for yourself. If that's not something you're used to doing, grab a copy of Bare and talk about the fantasies you read in the book as a sort of stepping stone.
It's also imperative that we're able to articulate our ideas about sex clearly in order to have a voice when it comes to public policy in areas like the 8th Amendment debate and sex education in schools. The more time and space we give to discussing sex in a mature and frank manner, the less stigma it will be left with. And that is the most important resolution we can make this year.




Shawna Scott
Shawna Scott

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