Your Sexual Health

How you grew up – whether you were raised in a traditional family, a blended family or by a single parent or grandparent – was determined by someone else’s choices. Likewise, the choices you make as a sexual person will affect not just you, but your future spouse, and any children you may have. Your sexual choices can have a lasting impact on your well-being.

STDS (sexually transmitted diseases or infections) are one good reason to think twice about having sex outside of a life-time commitment. Condoms can reduce, but not eliminate, your risk of getting STDs like HIV, herpes, HPV (genital warts) and chlamydia. And the consequences of an STD can range from chronic pain or recurring sores to more serious effects such as infertility or cervical cancer.

The most common STDs can be transmitted through oral sex as well. With every new sex partner, you increase your risk of getting infected with an STD. The only 100% effective way to protect yourself from STDs is to abstain from sex or to only have sex with a person who has only had sex with you.

The fear of pregnancy can quickly take the fun out of a relationship. Condoms and other forms of birth control vary in their effectiveness at preventing pregnancy, depending on how consistently they are used and other factors. The more times you have sex, the more likely you are to get pregnant or to get someone else pregnant. Before you know it, you may be connected to someone for life before you even know him or her.

Your emotional health is another important consideration if you are thinking about having sex – or taking a break from it. In recent decades, neuroscientists have been able to view the activity of the brain as it functions, and to better understand its role in love, lust, passion and sex. We now know there are neurochemicals in the brain that make sex an act that bonds two people together – an act that is addictive as well.

Sex is a powerful, intimate act. It can make a relationship feel close before you’ve done the hard work of getting to know someone. And the intense feelings resulting from sex can cause you to stay in an unhealthy relationship longer than you should.

Don’t confuse sex with love. Real love respects the other person, and allows the relationship to grow and mature over time, in stages. Saying “no” to sex now is one important way to say “yes” to a healthy marriage in the future.

If you want help working toward a healthier relationship, call or TEXT Lighthouse today: 201-677-2394