Normally, if you have a fear, they say knowledge is power; it’s good to prepare for the worst, after all. You’re told to learn first aid in case of an accident and eat well to minimise your chances of getting sick. But there’s one area in which we prefer to live in complete blissful ignorance – I’m talking about our sexual health knowledge, of course.
Some might call it a British thing, (our continental cousins are definitely more open when it comes to sex education), but for some reason many of us just don’t take the time to brush up on our sexual health knowledge. Unlike going to the dentist, or checking on our cholesterol, a trip to our GP to discuss what’s going on ‘down there’,can feel embarrassing. But that’s not to say this is the way it should be. To stay educated and spot the signs of sexually transmitted diseases earlier, here are five ways to improve your sexual health knowledge.
1. Sexual health apps
Get in the know with the click of a button; there are loads of sex apps available for download on your phone or tablet, it just depends what you’re after. ‘YES TO SEX’ is an American app that was created with sexual health survey results of 1,000 15-25 year old but it good for educating and empowering people of any age on sex and STD symptoms and also helps open up difficult discussions on consent. Another great tool is ‘Sexual Health Guide’ from Ireland, which is basically a glossary of sexual health terms, for when you need quick access to help you understand what’s going on with your body.
2. Sexual health podcasts
Discreet, informative and easily accessible – podcasts can be a useful way to improve your sexual health knowledge.
3. Sexual health websites
Whether you need help sourcing free condoms or just want to know how to have better sex, there are websites out there to broaden the sexual horizons, of all of us. UK sexual health charity the FPA, has enough sexual health information to cover all possible topics; contraception, pregnancy, STIs and more. Brook is another great sexual health tool for under 25s and comes with a 24/7 available question-answer service tool to satisfy your burning desire for sexual knowledge, at any hour. And if you need access to free condoms in your area, check ‘Your Sexual Health Matters’.
4. Sexual health bloggers and vloggers
As well as all the information on our own doctor-approved sexual health blog, you’ll find some cool people blogging and vlogging about sex online. Checking out blogs can be a great way to improve your sexual health knowledge, but remember that sometime the info you read online isn’t vetted by a professional health worker. Interesting people to check-out include Shan Boodram, who hosts videos on YouTube (suitable for guys and girls), about all kinds of sex stuff that you may be too embarrassed to talk about in real-life.
5. Your local doctor/sexual health worker
Don’t neglect your local sexual health services as a great way to brush up on your sexual health knowledge! Talking face-to-face with an NHS professional is the still best way to spot the first signs of an STI, or put your mind at rest if you’re worried about switching contraceptives. As well as your GP, you can find your nearest local sexual health clinic using this tool.