- 6 tips to improve your sexual health and wellbeing - 27 September, 2021
- 6 chic wedding decoration ideas to steal - 11 June, 2021
- Full programme for Alternative Manchester Pride Festival published today - 26 August, 2020
Sex is a natural part of life. Having fulfilling and pleasurable sex is known to boost your overall wellness, elevate your mood, and lower your stress levels.
On top of that, sex is also a great way to have an intimate bond with your partner and keep your relationship burning. And while some people consider sex a taboo, we here at Vada love to talk, and love to talk about sex. If it helps a few people have happier, healthier sex lives, what’s not to love?
What you may not also be aware of is that your sex drive tends to reflect your overall wellbeing. If your libido is low, it may be a sign of poor fitness or health problems. Likewise, if your sex drive is too high, it might be a sign of boredom or stress (we all remember how often we were DTF during lockdown, right?).
Talking about sex – and understanding what you want from sex – can help boost your sexual health and general wellbeing, as well as giving you colourful stories to tell your bezzies down Thompson’s on a Thursday night.
So, with all that in mind, here are our six tips to help improve your sexual health and overall wellness, and ensure that sexual activities will be an enjoyable and pleasurable experience for you.
1. Talk to your partner
As easy as this tip may sound, many people actually tend to forget and miss this one. Active and open communication in a relationship is crucial, including sex talk.
No matter how busy both of you may be with work and other commitments, make sure you have time to talk about what happens in the bedroom every once in a while. Sex talk is essential, as this is your opportunity to discuss any sexual issues and concerns, or preferences and fantasies with your partner.
Really, really want to do some dirty talk in Klingon? Fancy getting jiggy with it while dressed as the Men in Black? Now’s your chance.
And if something really isn’t working for you, it’s better to be honest to your partner and discuss it with them, rather than letting it become a distraction in the bedroom.
When both of you are honest and open up about sexual topics, it increases trust and comfort in all areas of your relationship. This applies to fuck buddies as much as husbands, too.
And the more trusting and comfortable you are in bed, the more likely both of you (or all of you) will achieve a more fulfilling and satisfying sex. If multiple partners are involved, talking can be even more important, as you are juggling multiple needs. What works for your alpha may not work for your beta.
Where there are problems, it also helps if you’re both aware of them. Then you can work together to finding a solution that meets everyone’s needs.
Where you need advice, feel free to do your research and read reliable sex guides, so you can keep yourselves informed about approaching an enjoyable and happy sex life.
2. Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice
Following on from the above, if you suspect there are any health issues hindering you from enjoying sex, it may be necessary to speak to your doctor or another professional about it. There are plenty of reasons you might struggle to have a satisfying sexual life, such as physical and mental health problems, lack of fitness, drugs and alcohol, lack of confidence, and even certain medications.
When it comes to health problems, a trusted doctor is usually the best and most reliable source of information. A good GP can request tests, offer practical advice, prescribe treatments, and even signpost additional support. But sometimes, when you’re queer, a doctor isn’t the best option.
If you are at all nervous about approaching your regular clinician, you can also try the specialist LGBT+ services around the country. In Manchester, for example, we have the LGBT+ Foundation, which offers sexual health advice, as well as support for addictions, domestic violence and mental health, which is discreet and tailored to you.
3. Watch what goes into your body
Sometimes your lifestyle can negatively affect your sex life. Drink and drugs can affect your sex drive and even cause erectile dysfunction for men.
When we have problems with drink and drugs, particularly overly a long period of time, we may find that our behaviour becomes more difficult to control. You might even put yourself into difficult or dangerous situations.
Luckily, there is increasing recognition of the role of addiction and substance abuse in the community and in society more generally, so there are schemes out there that might help you.
And remember: addiction doesn’t make you weak; it’s a disease. Like any disease, you will probably need professional help to get better.
4. Eat healthily
This follows on from above, but a good diet is essential if you want to have good sex. If you’re bloated and uncomfortable, you probably won’t enjoy yourself. If you’re sluggish or lightheaded, sex might make you feel worse.
Just like sports, sex is a physical activity, which means you’ll need to fuel your body with healthy and nutritious foods in order to improve your sexual performance and boost your sexual desire in a healthy way.
Foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and healthy fats are known to be good for your sexual health.
Some of the foods to include in your sex diet are:
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Poultry and other protein foods
- Vegetables and fruits
It’s also a nice treat to eat meals with your partner, rather than eating alone or on the move. Mealtimes can be a great opportunity to unwind with your partner and, at the same time, strengthen your emotional bond. Add some aphrodisiacs to the menu (oysters, anyone?) and you’re good to go!
5. Do exercise outside of bed
I know what it’s like. Your Grindr is exploding and you’re always open for business, so why do you need to exercise on top of that?
Well, it’s true that sex is exercise, but it doesn’t necessarily work out all the muscles you want or need to use. Unless sex is particularly acrobatic (in which case, do be careful!), it’s not a replacement for a proper workout.
What’s more, doing regular exercises outside of bed can actually help boost your sexual health. When you regularly exercise, your body tends to produce more endorphins and sex hormones, leading you to have a greater sex drive and be in a better mood for sex.
Working out can also boost your self-confidence and increase your endurance, making it easier for you to enjoy sex.
6. Take care of your sexual health
Because our community has often had to deal with a great deal of shame and secrecy, especially historically, it can sometimes be hard to speak openly about sexual health. This makes it harder to make the right decisions, sometimes.
The good news is that when it comes to safer sex, we have more options now than we used to do. No one should moralise or berate you – it’s your body and your life – so do what feels right for you and your partners.
Also bear in mind that what might feel good in the moment might cause regret, embarrassment or guilt later on. Try to avoid making big decisions during or right before sex – if you have chance to talk it through with a partner beforehand, you can let them know your red lines when you have your wits about you, and thereby limit the number of decisions you have to make with your genitals.
It’s easier to stick to a plan made ahead of time, especially if the other person is clear on what you’ve agreed too.
For penises and sex toys, condoms are a very effective way to prevent yourself from contracting or passing on sexually transmitted infections, and are free in most venues on the LGBT+ scene (as well as from genitourinary/sexual health clinics). Those with vaginas can use dental dams to protect themselves in a similar fashion.
For those at risk of HIV from any source, we also have PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) now, too. This is a daily tablet which dramatically reduces your chances of contracting HIV. It doesn’t protect you from other STIs (such as hepatitis, herpes or chlamydia), but it’s another option that might help you feel safer and more in control.
As a back-up, if you have been exposed to HIV, you can access PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) on the NHS. Your nearest A&E or sexual health clinic should be able to prescribe it, but you must begin the treatment within 72 hours (and the sooner the better).
Feeling in control of your decisions is the most important element here – when we don’t feel in control, it’s easy to make bad decisions. But if you do make a mistake, it’s important not to blame yourself either. Just get a sexual health screening when you can, and be open and honest about any risks with your partners.
In the same way you look after your physical, mental and emotional health, you also need to pay attention to your sexual health. By following these tips and recognizing your own sexual desires, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy sex life and experience sex on a fun and exciting level.
So now you’ve read this, go out there and get some practice!