The Benefits Of Opening Up And Talking About Your Sexual Wellness

According to the World Health Organization, the current definition of sexual health is "... a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled."


Although they don't teach this or the importance of talking about sexual wellness in sex ed, in order to have a healthy sex life as well as a healthy outlook on sex in general, it's important to open up and talk about sexual wellness. And not just with your partner, but with your friends too.

"Sexual wellness is an umbrella term that refers to the physical, emotional, psychological, and relational well-being of one's sexual life," sexual health researcher and Everlywell advisor Dr. Kristen Mark tells TZR. "This means acknowledging that although it is important to prevent unintended outcomes of sex — such as STIs and unintended pregnancy — it is equally as important to value the human right to sexual pleasure and all the benefits that come from living a healthy sexual life."


Humans are sexual beings. To disregard this truth isn't doing anyone any favors. So, contrary to what society would like you to believe, here are the benefits of opening up and talking about your sexual wellness.

It destigmatizes what society considers taboo

Human sexuality is complicated; this is something that society, as a whole, would like to disregard. Despite the ins and outs of sex or the fact that it's everywhere — sex sells, after all — society doesn't like to delve into the complexities of sexual wellness. To do so would mean giving life to certain topics that a lot of people want to ignore, for example, the spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation — things that too many people are not ready or willing to acknowledge. While there have been strides in talking about sexuality, and the sex-positive movement has had an impact on that, the discussion still isn't where it should be (via Yahoo).


In talking about it, openly and honestly, you're helping to destigmatize the taboo surrounding not just the act of sex but the conversations we should be having about sex, sexuality, and sexual wellness (via Metro UK).

It normalizes staying on top of your sexual health

We've been taught that having an STI is a bad thing, something to be ashamed of, and something that only happens to dirty people — this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, contracting an STI isn't even a big deal, especially considering the medication that's out there these days (via Healthline).


Even if you're in a relationship, getting regularly tested for STIs should just be a thing that both you and your partner do. Not because of a fear that one of you has cheated, but sometimes STIs, like HPV, don't pop up right away. It's important to normalize that sexual health isn't something for those who have multiple partners but for those who value and respect their health — and it's okay to feel a bit scared about the process!

"It's really common to feel nervous or embarrassed at the thought of getting tested but don't worry, most infections are easily treated," Brook sexual health experts tell Cosmopolitan. Also, UTIs and yeast infections are part of sexual health and should be talked about with your partner too.


It helps people better understand their body

When we subtract the shame from sexuality and talk about what we like and don't like when it comes to sex, it gives us a chance to better understand our bodies. For example, did you know that the clitoris has one purpose and that the only purpose is to give pleasure? Seriously, the clitoris has no other reason to exist because, unlike the penis, it doesn't play a role in reproduction (via Natural Cycles). Isn't that fact about your body worth knowing?


"Sometimes the inability to enjoy sex comes down to a misunderstanding of your own body, so psychoeducation is often where the conversation starts," psychotherapist Robyn Garnett, LCSW, tells Healthline. Whether that means talking about masturbation with your partner or having a frank dialogue about what you to do in bed, this openness gives room for even more conversations about sexual wellness (via Psychology Today).

It creates intimacy

To talk openly about sex means being vulnerable — especially if you were raised in a household where the mere mention of the word sex had your mother clutching her pearls. So, to be so candid about it, either with a partner or friend, is to create an intimate bond (via Foria).


"We live in a culture that tricked us into believing that when you're with somebody who is compatible, they should just be able to read your mind," New York-based sex therapist Cyndi Darnell tells Bustle. "This is BS."

If you can't talk to people whom you're close to about sex, then you're not giving your sexual wellness the validation it deserves. You have to be able to say out loud what you want and need, even if the thought of expressing some aspects of your sexuality feels daunting to you. Greater communication not only strengthens intimacy but results in a better sex life (via Permanente Medicine).

It emphasizes that sexual pleasure is a human right

Yes, a thousand times yes, sexual pleasure is a human right (via World Association for Sexual Health). Every time we open up and talk about sexual wellness, even if we don't say it directly, we're solidifying that sexual pleasure is a right for everyone. This is important because it bucks a society that would like to have us all believe otherwise.


It's not a privilege or something that only some people should be privy to, but a right that needs to be discussed on a bigger platform (via Science Direct). Sexuality is forever evolving in each and every one of us, and pleasure can shift and change over time. Talking about it as a right can help people understand those changing needs.

"There will always be changes in your sex life, and you will always hit road bumps," licensed clinical social worker Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus tells PsychCentral. "Realistically, it makes more sense that sex isn't some magical ability we are born with, but rather a skill set we can learn and improve upon." But you can't improve on what you don't talk about, so open up and talk about your sexual wellness. You have nothing to lose in doing so and so much to gain.