Top 10 Things Latinas Can Do to Ensure Sexual Health

Sexual health is not merely the absence of disease or illness. It's a state of physical, emotional and mental well-being in relation to your sexuality. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, and, most importantly, it means being knowledgeable about your body and knowing where to turn for more information. 

Here are a few important things Latinas can do to maintain good sexual health. 

1. Sexual Health: Safe Sex

Practice safe sex. If you decide to have sex, make sure that you have your own protection with you and that your partner uses a condom each and every time.  Unfortunately, Latinas have the highest teen pregnancy rates, but learning about safe sex can be part of a positive sexual health plan. 

2. Sexual Health: Get tested frequently

Get tested frequently. STDs affect certain groups more than others and Latinas, in particular, have a higher rate of contracting syphilis than non-Hispanic whites in the U.S.  Getting regular check-ups can help detect signs of STDs.  When they’re caught early, some STDs can be treated.

3. Sexual Health: Be Aware

Be more aware of your body.  A recent study conducted by U by Kotex revealed that the majority of Latinas report being knowledgeable about their vaginas.  However, one in three Latina women do not know that a woman can get pregnant if she has sex during her period, and 2 in 5 mistakenly believe, or are not sure, whether you can lose a tampon inside of your vagina. Learning about your body will help you to make informed decisions about your sexual health. 

4. Sexual Health: Breast Exams

Perform monthly breast self-exams.  Breast health is important to women’s overall health.  Self-examination can help detect some abnormalities.  If you have questions, visit your physician.

5. Sexual Health: Gyn

See your gynecologist regularly.  It's imperative that you see a gynecologist annually to maintain good vaginal health (go earlier if you have any symptoms).  Your doctor will perform a pelvic examination, a Pap test, a breast exam and discuss any questions you may have related to your reproductive or sexual system.

6. Sexual Health: Ask questions

Ask questions.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your body.  It is important that you have all the information you need to make good decisions about your sexual health.  For example, if you’re sexually active you may want to talk to your doctor about the different birth control options that might fit your lifestyle and needs, you shouldn't feel any apprehensions about doing so. If you do, perhaps it's time to find a new doctor--one who allows you to feel comfortable asking any and every question you can think of related to yoru sexual health. 

7. Sexual Health: Talk to partner

Talk to your partner. Good communication with your partner is very important. You should be able to talk to your partner about your sexual past and his or hers. Besides, being aware of potential risk factors that your partner may have can help ease confusion and conflict when it comes to sex and other aspects of your relationship.

8. Sexual Health: Exercise

Stay fit. Sure you have a busy schedule. But it's important that you exercise regularly. Experts say people who are mentally and physically fit are more likely to have good sex lives. So it's a win-win!

9. Sexual Health: Down there

Understand what’s going on down there. Many Latinas feel ashamed when it comes to discussing their vaginal health; but understanding every part of your body brings you a big step closer to ensuring good sexual health (and happiness). 

10. Sexual Health: Confident

Be confident. Sexual health is not just about sex or diseases. It’s about engaging proactively and responsibly in healthy information sharing and decision-making… and this comes from being self aware and confident, like you, chica!

11. Sexual Health: Related Links