What is sexual health?
Sexual health is an important aspect of mental health and wellness. However, it consists of more than just practicing safe sex – it is the state of physical, mental, and social well-being in relation to sex. Good self-esteem, positive relationships, and embracement of sexuality are all essential aspects of sexual health in addition to contraception use.
How can I have good sexual health?
Leading a sexually healthy lifestyle encompasses many different things including, but not limited to:
- Safer sex with the use of protection
- Regular testing for STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)
- Open communication with your sexual partner(s)
- Appreciation for your own body
Sexual Health in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Safer sexual practices such as contraception use will protect against STIs, but they will not prevent you from getting COVID-19. Nonetheless, it is still possible to take the necessary safety precautions regarding COVID-19 while still fulfilling sexual desires. Toronto Public Health recommends the following:
- Consensual sexting, virtual sex, video dating, and chat rooms
- Only having sex with those in your social circle
- Find ways to include the use of face masks during sex if you do not live with the person
- Limit kissing and saliva exchange, as well as touching your face with unwashed hands
There are many other suggestions outlined in this detailed document by Toronto Public Health.
Sexual Health Resources
Services offered in public sexual health clinics in Ontario are free and confidential. These include anonymous STI testing and treatment, birth control counselling, pap testing, and immunizations, among others. A health card is not required. Find a sexual health clinic in your area: https://sexualhealthontario.ca/en/find-clinic
Planned Parenthood Toronto provides useful information to all genders for anything you can think of relating to sexual health through their Fact Sheets. They also offer details as to how to obtain birth control, counselling, medical abortions, and HIV & STI testing at their location.