We love the onset of fall—trees changing color, crisp nights, cozy outfits—but there’s another reason to enjoy the season, too. September is
Sexual Health Awareness Month and we’re looking forward to celebrating!
This month, we’re looking at ways to increase sexual wellness and pleasure. But first, what is sexual wellness, and why should you invest?
The Foundations of Sexual Wellness
Just like building a strong house, sexual wellness begins with a solid foundation.
According to the World Health Organization, “sexual health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and relationships, as well as pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion.”
Achieving the basics of sexual wellness include:
- Consent. Sexual wellness requires consent and safe experiences. If you’re in an unsafe environment you can’t build pleasure or wellness on top; consent is the most important building block.
- Regular STI testing. Many STIs are treatable, and sexually active partners should get tested frequently. Sexual wellness isn’t just about you, either, because STIs can affect any partner you’re with, regardless of relationship status.
- Addressing other sex-related disorders. Sexual disorders don’t always mean an infection or disease. Sexual wellness problems could include orgasm disorders, psychological barriers to pleasure, or even the desire to transition. The same local health department or Planned Parenthood that tested you for STIs may also be able to address these problems or make a specialist recommendation.
Sexual Wellness In All Life Stages
Arousal and sexual drive doesn’t end with menopause. Up to 6,000 people enter menopause every day in the United States, yet products to increase wellness during aging are still pretty limited. A truly modern approach to sexual wellness includes everyone, regardless of age.
Some key areas of wellness to focus on after 40 include:
- Increased lubrication
- Strengthening the pelvic floor
- Adjusting to new sexual desires or libido
While yes, products to address these problems aren’t as plentiful as we’d like, new companies are beginning to create solutions.
CBD oil lubricants can reduce pain associated with sexual intercourse, making sex more comfortable, especially for those with PTSD or a history of trauma. It also addresses dryness many women experience after menopause. Other companies like Joylux, a femtech firm, have created products like the vFit red-light intimate device, which reportedly boosts sexual function and sensation, promotes natural hydration, and strengthens the pelvic floor as you age.
Sexual Wellness and Mental Health
Sexual wellness is about improved wellness overall, and as a result, it impacts your mental health. Studies show that masturbation and orgasms provide
pain relief, boosted immunity, and increased confidence. Whether you have a partner or not, it’s possible to get the benefits of pleasure.
In addition, many sexual disorders stem from anxiety, depression, or trauma. Left unchecked, our libido diminishes and it can be hard to orgasm. Sex can even be painful, causing vaginismus or dyspareunia. This creates a painful cycle that makes sex altogether undesirable for some.
Many sexual disorders, including a lack of interest in sex, are best addressed by a sex therapist. Some may require prescription medications like antidepressants. There’s no shame in getting the help you need, because not addressing sexual wellness issues is a two-fold problem: you’re denied the benefits of pleasure and you continue to live with a painful problem.
You deserve a solid sexual health foundation, and that includes your mental health!
Build That House!
Once the foundation of sexual wellness has been built, it’s time to focus on our own anatomy. Do you know and understand your
clitoris, G-spot, or penis? Each of us should have a foundational knowledge of our own bodies, because it’s hard to orgasm or enjoy sex without it.
With a strong anatomical understanding comes the best part—pleasure and exploration—the personal touches to your home. It takes time, patience and solo masturbation to discover just how you like to orgasm.
When we know what we like, it’s much easier to communicate with a partner. Showing our partners how to use toys like Osé 2, designed to deliver powerful blended orgasms, or where to place their fingers or mouth is incredibly effective. Learn for yourself, then enjoy teaching a partner to do the same. And, of course, don’t forget to reverse roles! Sexual wellness also impacts your partner, and communication even in casual circumstances is important for both parties to be satisfied.
Sexual Wellness Impacts More Than Just Your Body
Once you’ve built a home for yourself, you must also think about the neighborhood you live in. Sexual wellness impacts our communities and those around us, so it’s important to advocate for increased knowledge and destigmatization.
For example, in 2019 Lora DiCarlo won its first Robotics Innovation Award. But just a month later, CES took the award back, calling our product, “obscene, immoral, and profane”. This thinking is not exactly progressive or innovative, in our humble opinion.
We fought back, and our award was reinstated. It took educating CES about sexual health and wellness issues to win. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but we’re glad we were able to bring this important conversation to the larger tech industry. Sexual wellness, and the acceptance that everyone has a right to pleasure, affects every woman and person with a vagina who has been told their pleasure is “immoral.”
In another win for pleasure equity this year, Osé 2 has been included in the MoMA Design Store’s Design Innovations for Women Pop-Up! The pop-up will be available in their Soho store now through September 27, and online. While we’re over the moon to be included, we’re also proud to be able to bring sexual wellness to more people and to make it a common topic of conversation at such an esteemed event.
In short, sexual wellness is a part of everyday life. It affects everyone differently and is unique to each body, but you can’t escape its importance. We encourage you to make sexual health and wellness a part of your care routine, and we encourage you to have vulnerable conversations about it with friends and partners. Total mind, body, and emotional wellness requires that you do!