Why We Need to Normalize Sexual Wellness and Close the Orgasm Gap
Your doctor may ask you about how you're sleeping, how many minutes of physical activity you're getting a week, and if your food is nourishing you with the right nutrients — have they ever asked you about your sex life? I'm guessing not. And if they did, most women would regard such a question as invasive, overly personal … maybe even creepy!
But the truth is, sex involves complex, physical responses, many of which can be affected by depression, stress, age, bodily changes, trauma and illness. Sexual wellness is a growing trend integrating our sexual response to our health and other aspects of our lives.
Sexual wellness is more about wellness than sex. The goal is to normalize the conversation, especially when it comes to health, so that we can better understand our bodies and relationships.
Sexual Wellness Is About Improved Health
Multiple studies have shown that sexual pleasure has physical benefits — like improved sleep, a stronger immune system and lower levels of stress. Similarly, by identifying changes in our sexual response, we can help us diagnose issues elsewhere. Whether or not we're in a relationship, sexual desire and response is connected to our overall mental and physical health. Sexual wellness helps us learn about interconnections like these in a fact-based, medically accurate, shame-free manner.
Sexual Wellness Is About Education
You're probably not the only one who's uncomfortable talking about sex with your doctor. During the four years of medical school, the average medical student receives less than fifteen hours of training in sexual health and education. Many doctors can't even identify basic sexual organs. Sexual wellness is an educational movement to help us better understand our bodies, so that we can be leaders in our own health.
Sexual Wellness Is About Equality
In studies, women experience less pleasure and less satisfaction than men — a concept known as the orgasm gap. The more comfortable we are in talking about our bodies, and what they need and how they respond, the better we can communicate with partners, and the better our relationships can be.
Sexual Wellness Is About the Future
Most of us weren't provided a very good education when it comes to sex and pleasure. Most schools and parents focus on dangers like teen pregnancy, STIs and social shame. Unless we do the work ourselves, we're unable to help the next generation, many of whom need help in navigating more increasingly nuanced conversations around sexuality, gender, and consent.
For too long, sex has been regarded as shameful and secretive, and harmed our health relationships and self-worth. By investing in our own sexual wellness, and treating it as valuable as we would any other part of our physical or mental health, we can improve aspects of all three — and help make the world better for those who come next.
Andrea Barrica is the CEO and Co-founder O.school.