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Sex is a natural and important part of the human experience. And how we navigate sexual health, intimacy, and pleasure can impact our overall health and well-being in many ways.

But we weren’t always given the tools necessary to approach these topics with our safety and pleasure in mind. And the truth is there’s still a lot of work to do in reducing sexual shame and stigma on individual and collective levels. That’s why it’s important to unlearn misinformation and re-educate ourselves about what it means to have “good” sex.

In honor of Sexual Health Awareness Month this September, we’ve collaborated with Planned Parenthood to create a content series called “Mood, Mind & Good Sex” that does just that.

In this collaboration, we interview experts from the Planned Parenthood team and other sex educators to answer sexual health-related questions like:

  • What does having sex have to do with self-care?
  • How can you get tested for STIs and disclose your status to your partners?
  • In which ways can we overcome sexual shame to prioritize pleasure?
  • Does your body image impact your mental health? If so, how?
  • Which birth control methods might be right for you depending on your lifestyle?
  • How can we normalize menstruation and reproductive rights for people with periods?

Here’s how you can get involved and celebrate with us all month long.

Consider reading the following articles to learn more about sexual health and intimacy.

Menstruation and Mental Health: A Q&A with Planned Parenthood

Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph.D., LCSW, CST — Written by Maisha Johnson

Learn about how social stigma and cultural shame around menstruation can affect your physical and mental health.

Safer Sex as a Form of Self-Care

Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph.D., LCSW, CST — Written by Morgan Mandriota

The key to safer, more pleasurable sex lies in being mindful and taking care of everyone’s overall health and wellness. Discover how to practice sexual self-care.

Sexual Intimacy: The Link Between Mental Health and Body Image

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Litner, LMFT, CST — Written by Alex Carroll

This article explores how sexual health and mental health are connected, and how we talk about both can make a difference.

How to Leave Shame Out of Your Sex Life

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Litner, LMFT, CST — Written by Taneasha White

Sexual shame negatively impacts us and our mental health, especially for those in marginalized communities. Here’s how.

How to Disclose Your STI Status, and Why It’s Important

Medically reviewed by Emelia Arquilla, DO — Written by Morgan Mandriota

Talking about STIs may feel awkward, but knowing and disclosing your status is an important part of having safer sex. These tips can help.

How Birth Control May Affect Mental Health: Benefits and Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Fernando Mariz, MD — Written by Morgan Mandriota

With so many different birth control methods out there, how can you know which one is best for your physical and mental health? Here, we outline the pros and cons of contraception methods.

At 4:30 p.m. EST on Sept. 22, 2021, Psych Central Editor-In-Chief Faye McCray is going live with Dr. Sara C. Flowers from Planned Parenthood on our Instagram @psychcentralofficial. The event is called “Stripped Down: A Candid Conversation About Sex & Mental Health.”

Join us for an engaging and educational conversation about all things related to sexual health and wellness, including topics like birth control, sex positivity, mental health’s impact on intimacy, etc. Feel free to bring your own questions and share them during the session as well.

On behalf of the Psych Central team, we wish you a happy Sexual Health Awareness Month. We hope that we can guide you toward the information and resources you need to have pleasurable safer sex and more fulfilling, intimate relationships – this September and always.