What is Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day and when and why do we observe its existence?
Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day is an event that takes place in the second week of February, but, more specifically, on 12th February every year. You may be surprised or even confused that such a day or event exists, but upon further reading and education, this day is, in our eyes, incredibly important and valuable, for people of all ages, backgrounds and sexual orientations. Here at Secret Whispers we strongly believe that Sexual and Reproductive Health is not just a thing for one week or a day during the year, but it is a lifelong commitment to ourselves, our bodies and to society.
But first of all, let’s look at some of the points that we should raise in conversation during an event that will, so we are hoping, increase awareness of sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing.
Education is key. Everyone in society should have access to correct and easily comprehensible information about sexual and reproductive health, as it plays a huge role in our overall mental and physical wellbeing. Education is also important because it can help, support and inform people of contemporary problems such as discrimination and gender-based violence.
It goes further though. By normalising conversations about this, we give our youngsters the tools to take control of their own sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing, which will help and empower them to make the right decisions and to be respectful towards their own and others’ sexual health, and in turn also leads to good sexual relationships.
Sexual and reproductive health is for everyone, all ages, all socio-economic backgrounds, all genders. For younger people, it may mean learning to look after their sexual health by understanding the importance of smear tests, prostate health, pelvic floor exercises and to get tested for STIs (sexually transmitted diseases).
As we get older, our sexual relationships, habits or views may change but it doesn’t mean that our sexual health and wellbeing become any less important. On the contrary, a study (Psychology Today) found that sexual activity can help with symptoms of menopause and many people enjoy active and fulfilled sex lives as they get older.
Equal access to education for everyone deserves an extra bullet point. Many LGBTQI ladies are being failed as they are unaware that there are even risks of STIs during same sex intercourse. Sex education needs to cater for everyone, and raising awareness of these shortcomings is of utmost importance.
So, what can you do in order to celebrate Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day? In a beautiful coincidence, this brilliant day is only two days before Valentine’s Day, so what better way to open up conversations and break taboos by speaking openly and honestly about sexual health and wellbeing?
You could arrange to get tested for STIs if you have new partners and encourage them to get tested, too.
If you have children, have conversations about our bodies (age-appropriate of course!) and how we need to take care of all aspects of ourselves.
With your friends, have conversations about smear tests - is yours up to date, have you missed one, have you had yours? This is a regular test that should never be missed, so making it normal to talk about it is totally invaluable and can even save lives.
Gents, getting your prostate checked is, depending on your circumstances, of huge importance, too. Don’t put it off. Get checked out to make sure you are well.
Pelvic floor and menstrual health: Here at Secret Whispers we started the ‘Don’t ignore your pelvic floor’ campaign and are passionate about supporting people to make sustainable choices regarding sanitary products. Invest in some kegel weights and the menstrual cup. Your body will thank you for it.
We’re hoping that this quick introduction to Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day will give you a headstart on the event and prompt some fruitful and inspiring conversations around the topic. Remember that talking about it and raising awareness creates normality and eliminates taboos and shame. We have nothing to lose but all of our sexual and reproductive health to gain.
Sources: Do Older Adults Continue to Have Sex? | Psychology Today UK