Top Five Tips To Bedroom Health
6th OF September 2012
1. Get checked regularly.
I cannot emphasises this enough. Even if you're in a monogamous relationship, even if nothing's changed for ages, even if you've been single since Paul Keating was Prime Minister, get checked.
Gynaecological check-ups aren't just for when you've started a relationship (or are thinking about it), although they're necessary then too. They're also important monitors of how things are changing as you age.
Plus many STDs can lie dormant for years and suddenly flare up inexplicably, generally at inconvenient moments, so you can't predict when you're going to need help.
Having regular check-ups, including pap smears, will give your doctor a thorough set of data - it's recommended you go every eight or so months for a general STD test if you're intimately active.
Don't let it slide - it's important to make sure everything's all right.
2. Know what 'normal' is for you.
Far too many women go to doctors without knowing the date of their last period, their usual amount of discharge, their natural colour downstairs - all vital details to know if something's gone wrong.
It's only possible to tell if something's unusual if you know what 'usual' is. First things first: familiarise yourself with your own body. Take a hand mirror and investigate where everything is, looking for size, colour and any distinguishing marks or moles.
At the first sign of anything different, do the same again, and note carefully what you see. Bumps, whiteness, dark spots, anything.
Also check out your mouth, your tongue, your fingers, and anything else you use in an intimate context. Knowing their natural state will be crucial if you need early diagnosis.
3. Monitor yourself.
Our bodies and reactions change over time. I'm not saying keep a chart, but do keep track of how things are changing for you.
This includes how you react in the bedroom, what turns you on, and how having children has affected your intimate areas, among many others.
Don't go to the doctor with the same expectations at thirty-seven as at twenty-two; the story will be different and your needs will have changed.
4. Talk about it.
This is crucial for emotional health, but it's also vital for physical health. If one of you is experiencing something out of the ordinary, you have to bring it up - and fast.
Not 'once I've left it for a while', not 'when I'm less embarrassed' - as soon as possible.
Keeping your partners safe is a critical part of being a healthy partner yourself. Be open, accepting of their reactions (unless they're rude), and full of information.
Even if you're newly in a relationship, or have just met that night, it's still necessary to discuss protection, health and whether that's a pimple or something else.
If one or both of you are diagnosed, share as much information as possible about what's happening and how you should cope.
5. Never be ashamed.
Diagnosis with an STD isn't a badge saying you're stupid and make risky decisions, or whatever else you think it might mean.
It's just an aspect of health. That's all. If there are things you could do differently next time, do them, but don't view it as a judgement or a curse.
Shame is one of the greatest barriers to seeking treatment, for women in particular, so it's important that you conquer it and find medical attention.
Get counselling if you like - many GPs and gynaecologists offer some help.
Be safe and healthy!
Lady Friday xx
Taking pillow talk out of the bedroom, every Friday...