Sexual Health and Wellness

ENSURING YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH

Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, and social wellbeing in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease or dysfunction. Sexual health is influenced by a complex web of factors ranging from sexual behavior and attitudes and societal factors, to biological risk and genetic predisposition. It encompasses the problems of HIV and STIs/RTIs, unintended pregnancy and abortion, infertility and cancer resulting from STIs, and sexual dysfunction. [see: HIV / AIDS and STI’s] Often we focus on the physical side of sexual health and forget about the emotional side. Our attitude to our own sexuality can be positively or negatively affected by the attitudes of society in general. If you feel you have negative feeling about your sexuality you should contact a counselor or therapist who can help you address your feelings. EXERCISE Benefits

  • Exercise improves your mood;
  • Exercise improves and fights chronic illnesses;
  • Exercise play an import role in weight management;
  • Exercise strengthens your heart and lungs;
  • Promotes sleep;
  • Exercise can put a spark back into your sex life; and
  • Exercise can be fun and is also a method of stress relief.

Minimum The minimum requirement is 2-3 times per week for 30 min at a time. Exercise is a personal choice. Do something that you would enjoy and if you have difficulty being active, start small e.g. wake up 20 minutes earlier and walk around the block twice. NUTRITION Benefits Your body can only be as healthy as the fuel it’s fed. Rubbish in, equals rubbish out. Without adequate nutrition, the body will not be able to function optimal. This can mean poor concentration, low energy levels, and low immunity (more illnesses). Skin, hair, teeth, bones and muscles will not be as strong and healthy as they could be. Overeating does not necessarily mean that the body is getting all the nutrients it needs. Quite often unhealthy food is substituted for necessary nutritious food, and so overweight people can suffer from poor nutrition – as well as the physical burden of excess weight. Being overweight is a health problem as it increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and several cancers. Added to this, being overweight can limit movement and in this way it can reduce social interaction which is necessary for emotional wellbeing. Minimum The Food Guide Pyramid is an outline of what to eat each day based on dietary guidelines.  It’s not a rigid prescription but a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet that’s right for you. What Counts as One Serving?

  • Milk, Yoghurt and Cheese group
    • 250 ml yoghurt or milk = 1 serving
    • 25 g cheese = 1 serving
  • Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts
    • 55-85 g cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish = 1 serving
    • ½ cup cooked dry beans = 1 serving
    • 1 egg = 1 serving
    • Hand full of nuts = 1 serving
  • Vegetables group
    • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables = 1 serving
    • ½ cup of either carrots, beetroot, corn and pumpkin = 1 serving
  • Fruit group
    • 1 medium fruit e.g. apple, banana or orange = 1 serving
    • ½ chopped, cooked or canned fruit = 1 serving
    • ¾ fruit juice = 1 serving
  • Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta group
    • 1 slice of bread = 1 serving
    • 50 g ready to eat cereal = 1 serving
    • ½ cup of cooked cereal, cooked rice or cooked pasta = 1 serving

STRESS MANAGEMENT Benefits

  • Decrease stress related health problems e.g. heart attacks;
  • Healthy sleep pattern, adequate sleep;
  • Eating healthy;
  • Regular exercise;
  • Increase in productivity and concentration;
  • Better sexual life; and
  • Enjoying life.

Strategies and tips You can start with these tips:

  • Slow down your breathing – Breathe slowly – deep in and out. This works in two ways – it settles your energy and takes your focus away from the anxiety. This is a very effective method to start with.
  •  Distance yourself – Imagine that you are watching someone else with friendly curiosity. Observe, uncritically, your emotions and sensations and reactions. This creates distance between you and your stress and helps you to take control and manage stress – instead of the other way around!
  • Press your feet into the floor – By doing this you shift your focus away from your mind (and the stress) and into your body. Imagine that you are a tree and your feet are the roots. “Plant” yourself firmly and blow tension out of your roots into the ground. Breathe in calm energy from the ground back up through your roots.
  • Laugh – Be humorous! Laugh at yourself and the stress! Laugh at the stress! Any way that you can!

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS Effect of alcohol and drugs on Sexual health?

  • Alcohol and drugs lowers your inhibitions and interferes with your decision making, resulting in unsafe sex.
  • Increase your risk of contracting STIs and HIV due to lack off safer sex negotiation.
  • Alcohol and drugs usually result in poor sexual performance but can have the opposite effect – change in sexual performance.
  • Embarrassing moments – can’ remember what happened the previous night.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Unwanted sex.
  • Financial implications.
  • Unwanted injuries e.g. broken leg from falling.

Strategies and tips to reduce harm?

  • Reduce frequency of drugs and alcohol use.
  • Stop taking drugs and alcohol with sex.
  • Avoid friends and places where you might be tempted to use excessive drugs and alcohol.
  • Safer sex negotiations.
  • If you are injecting, use clean water and don’t share equipment.
  • Regular health check-ups and HIV Testing, at least every 6 months.
  • Be faithful to one partner.
  • Always carry condoms and lube with you, “play safe pack”.
  • Avoid places where you might be tempted to have high risk sex e.g. dark rooms.