Of and on you might be hearing the word, “sexually active”. You may wonder what this means? The answer to this question is mainly the botheration of your doctor to protect you from sexually transmitted infections.
What is being sexually active
You are sexually active when you are having skin-to-skin contact with another person. The main concern of your doctor is you are getting physical, raising the probability of STIs. You can very well be sexually active even if you are not having penetrative sex. The other forms of mutual sexual stimulation such as
- Genital-to-genital contact
- Dry humping
- Oral sex
- Anal penetration
The act of masturbation does not need skin-to-skin contact with another individual. Hence it does not come to the category of sexually active. Nevertheless, it is a sexual act. But you need not worry about STIs through masturbation.
Some points before you prepare yourself sexually active
To sex is human. But it must be without any risk of sexually transmitted infection. So prior to making yourself ready for penetrative sex, many things are to be considered.
- Why am I indulging in it? Is it to satisfy my partner’s desire or is it what I need?
- Do I want a sexual relationship based on commitment?
- Are there arrangements for contraceptives and condoms?
- Will the sex subject me to regret?
Is it possible for the doctor to declare you sexually active?
The doctor will not be able to judge whether you are sexually active or not just by examining you physically. He will only be able to diagnose after learning from you.
There are a number of myths about women’s sexuality. One is regarding the breaking of the hymen. But this is not a sign of your sexually active status. The hymen is thin tissue over the vagina, some even may be born without it. In some cases, the hymen, of course, may be torn during intercourse. But again the hymen may also be torn during exercise or for the physically active women.
If you are in a sexual act recently when the semen is ejaculated inside your vagina, the doctor can diagnose you as sexually active, as the semen is able to live for five days inside the vagina.
Though it may be difficult for you to share all the details about your sex, it is always better to let your doctor be aware of your sexual activities.
How can you protect yourself from STIs
Vaccination is of prime importance before you prepare yourself sexually active. There are many important vaccinations available that can protect you from transmissible diseases. The vaccinations that your doctor may suggest are
- Human Papillomavirus vaccine or HPV: protects from cancers and genital warts
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
It is better if you get the above vaccinations before being sexually active. But even if you are already sexually active you should get the vaccinations for safety.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
If you are sexually active, your doctor will suggest you undergo some tests. The tests can be through a blood sample or urine sample.
It is always prudent for you to discuss the risk of STIs and the ways to protect yourself from such diseases. It is not true that STIs only come through penetrative sex. It may come through any kind of bodily fluids that come in contact during sex involving two persons.
One type of virus called herpes simplex virus is even transmitted through skin contact.
You can protect yourself by creating a barrier using condoms and other means of doing it. Your doctor will be able to explain to you all such protection measures.
Contraceptives as barriers
Contraceptives are used both as barriers and also to avoid pregnancy. There are a number of options available as given below:
- Inside condoms
- Outside condoms
- Vaginal sponge
- Contraceptive pills
- Insertable diaphragm
- Skin patch
- Vaginal ring
- Intrauterine device
When you abstain from sex for a long time
This does not save you from the possibility of STIs. If you had been sexually active in the past that may have its effects on you. Genital herpes may lie dormant for years after its first exposure and become known all of a sudden. Some other viruses may not show any outside manifestations but may be the cause of infertility and various other complicated issues
There are 100 and more types of HPV of which 40 viruses are sexually transmitted. Though many HPVs will clear on their own some cause warts and even cancers of the genitals. Pap smear tests are done to screen for HPV.
Many STIs remain asymptomatic without showing any symptoms. Hence it becomes imperative to screen.
However, some symptoms, if present, can be
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Heavy discharge
- Painful intercourse
Your sex life is nobody’s concern. But for your own safety, it is important to interact with the doctor. STIs are real and you must protect yourself from it.