Sexual health can be challenging to talk about, and there are a lot of reasons people might not feel comfortable broaching this topic. Stigmas have existed around the matter for years. This causes people to feel uncomfortable talking openly about their concerns, often even with a medical professional. We’re here to let you know that you don’t ever need to feel embarrassment or shame when talking about sex and to encourage you to be the healthiest person you can be!
Sex Is Worth Talking About
1. Communicating With Your Partner.
Your doctor should always know about any concerns or questions you might have. However, you should feel comfortable talking to your partner(s) as well. One of the quickest ways to have an unpleasant experience is to avoid discussing things. What do you like? Is there anything in particular that it’s important to you during a sexual encounter? Conversely, is there anything that makes you uncomfortable or might ruin the mood? The point is, communication before sex almost always assures a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
If you’re interested in learning more about communication, try downloading the Lover app. We’ve got loads of great exercises on this, like “Asking For What You Want”.
2. Communication Doesn’t End When Sex Begins.
Communication is a commonly overlooked aspect of a pleasant and comfortable sexual experience. It’s not uncommon for people to have a brief, somewhat rushed conversation before becoming intimate. The issue here is that this doesn’t help to communicate with your partner during the encounter. Fear of killing the mood can cause people to be afraid to speak up even when they’re experiencing something unpleasant. A caring partner should want to know if they’re doing something that causes you discomfort or even pain. Some people worry about ruining the moment, but if you’re not enjoying yourself, that’ll definitely ruin not just the moment, but the experience as a whole.
3. Never Assume Consent, Always Ask.
Consent is a conversation, never a negotiation. One of the things that many people forget (at least in the moment) is that a person can revoke consent at any time. If you’re no longer comfortable, it is always your right to say STOP. This is referred to as active consent. Any person that fails to respect these boundaries is someone with whom you shouldn’t ever have a relationship. Look for red flags in a potential partner ahead of time that indicates a lack of respect for boundaries, being physically aggressive, or showing physical affection without your consent. Intimacy is a powerful and beautiful thing, but consent is essential. Remember, you are the sole owner of your body.
*Lover would like to note that If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault there are a number of resources available and people to talk to 24/7. In particular, we would recommend checking our Rainn for 24/7 confidential support on their hotline, and helpingsurvivors.org for their resources across a wide range of sexual traumas.
Even When It's Difficult, It’s Still Worth Talking About
1. Pleasure Is Different For Everyone
We’ve talked about discussing what you do and don’t enjoy, and in some ways, this is a continuation of that conversation. Our focus here is less about the moment and more about your general feelings on what sex means to you. For example, some people find that penetrative sex doesn’t work for them for one reason or another. They still enjoy sex, but in a different way than you might be used to. It’s important to know yourself and not feel embarrassed about your desires or triggers. Understanding that pleasure looks different for everyone is an important part of a healthy sex life, and it can give you the confidence you need to have the kinds of conversations that’ll lead to better relationships and better sex.
However, there is one thing that has been shown to increase pleasure for everyone, and that is being present. By which we mean, getting out of your head and into your body during sex. Not sure where to start with this? Download the Lover app and try out our infamous Being Present For Pleasure exercise.
2. Sexual Dysfunctions Are Common and Usually Treatable
One of the most uncomfortable things for people to talk about is sexual dysfunction. We can’t really say where the stigma originated from, but very few of us are ever excited to talk about it. That said, issues in the bedroom are very common and usually treatable. Sometimes they’re just the result of stress, lack of exercise, or a poor diet. Other times they can have physiological causes that can be treated with medication. Whatever the issue, it’s important to talk to a doctor, as a medical professional is the only person that can recommend a course of treatment personalized to you.
3. Some Common Issues
Low Libido: Low libido, also known as Low Sex Drive or Hypogonadism, is a condition generally caused by the body's inability to produce enough sex hormones. Low levels of testosterone and estrogen can be caused by a variety of factors, but they’re almost all treatable. Hormone levels often fall due to aging, and menopause can be a major contributing factor. Others just have a naturally lower level of sex hormones. The medical community isn’t entirely certain why, but this is often treatable with lifestyle changes or hormone replacement in more severe cases. Lover has two courses for people experiencing low libido. Driving Up Desire is for people who feel they have low libido for sex generally. Passion For Your Partner is designed for people who still desire sex, but just not with their current partner. 91% of people who try this course report improvements.
Erectile Dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction (ED) will affect almost half of men at some point during their lives and is the most common sexual dysfunction in men. Despite this, there’s still a stigma attached to the subject—we’d like to try and end that. If you’re suffering from ED, talk to your doctor. They might recommend lifestyle changes or trying a medication like Cialis. ED is common, but it’s also very treatable. The Getting Hard Made Easy course on Lover is one of our most effective, with 94% of men reporting improvements.
Anorgasmia and Dyspareunia: Anorgmasmia is the difficulty of achieving an orgasm, and dyspareunia is the medical term for painful intercourse. These are two of the most common sexual dysfunctions in women and can greatly affect enjoyment during sex. Fortunately, these conditions are also very treatable. From simply increasing foreplay and using lubricants to medications that help the body naturally produce more lubrication, there are various solutions available. The Lover app has three courses for women struggling with orgasm. The first course, Orgasm 101, is for the 5-10% of women who have never experienced an orgasm. The second course, Orgasms With A Partner, is for women who can orgasm consistently during masturbation, but not during partnered sex. And the third course, Climaxing Consistently, is for women who have orgasmed regularly in the past but are currently struggling during both masturbation and partnered sex.
4. Make Your Partner Comfortable Talking To You About These Things
You don’t want to send the wrong message to your partner, so encourage them to discuss their concerns with you. Tell them there’s no shame in struggling with sex, and ask what you can do to help. One of the best ways to help break down these stigmas is to create an environment where people feel safe talking about all aspects of their sexual health. Be a good listener, offer support, and know that you deserve someone that will do the same for you.
Taking charge of your sexual health can be difficult, but it’s incredibly empowering. We hope that we’ve made it feel a little less daunting and given you some resources that can help you further your goals. Do what feels right for you, enjoy your sexuality, and take control of your sexual health—you won’t regret it!
If you would like to start your sexual health journey today, try out the Lover app for 3 days free. Click here to download.