It’s September and that means it’s Sexual Health Awareness Month! This month is for reminding you to evaluate what sexual health means to you.
This is important to Mented Cosmetics because we believe that sexual health and a woman’s body are things that each individual should have autonomy over. Recent political events have threatened bodily autonomy in America so it’s imperative that we take this September to reflect, and understand why we should protect our rights.
What is Sexual Health Awareness Month?
This is probably not something that your education taught you, but September is the official Sexual Health Awareness Month! Many have a pretty singular idea of what that means. Surprisingly, this topic actually covers the body, mind, and spirit.
“Sexual health is the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives. It is an important part of our physical and emotional health.” - The American Sexual Health Association
Why is Sexual Health Awareness Important?
- Bodily Autonomy
Understanding sexual health will help you recognize and more importantly respect everyone’s sexual rights. Valuing yourself and your body is the first step to deciding your boundaries, goals, and what you want in life. That includes seeking what you deem the appropriate healthcare when necessary. Abortion care is medical care and Mented Cosmetics believes that we should all have access to self-care.
- Education Beyond Sex-Ed
We have always been advocates for education. That’s where change and autonomy begins! Having the appropriate knowledge to come to educated decisions on your own. This knowledge will lead to positive relationships and practicing trusted, safe sex.
- Effectiveness communication with partners and healthcare providers
This can be intimidating or even embarrassing, but it’s crucial to be honest about your sexual health. You’ll find that effective communication with a trusted partner or healthcare provider is essential and will allow you to feel more comfortable and at ease.
Reproductive Rights in America for Women of Color
Reproductive justice is everyone’s right to maintain their own personal bodily autonomy. People may not realize that this extends beyond just sex and encompasses the right to have, or not have children and raise them in a supportive and sustainable way.
The right to plan your family, or to even choose not to have a family for women of color, and trans people has been a constant fight. The women’s rights movement was certainly helpful but didn’t always put our specific needs into the focus. The needs of our community shouldn’t be marginalized. This often means we have to be our own community and support system.
Access to essential healthcare is extremely important and something that unfortunately people in our community don’t have. This is about human rights. Sex education, STI care/prevention, contraception, pregnancy care, even assistance with domestic violence all fall into reproductive rights needed for a functional society.
What can we do?
SisterSong (a multi-ethnic reproductive justice collective) beautifully and simply lays out what we need to do to achieve reproductive justice.
Helpful Sexual Health Resources
ASHA - The American Sexual Health Association
SisterSong - A multi-ethnic reproductive justice collective
AidAccess - Supports women who can’t otherwise get access to miscarriage or abortion treatment and protects human rights
Plan C - Provides up-to-date information on how people in the U.S. are accessing at-home abortion pill options online
The M+A Hotline - An easy way to connect with doctors for miscarriage and abortion support
“Reproductive freedom is critical to a whole range of issues. If we can’t take charge of this most personal aspect of our lives, we can’t take care of anything. It should not be seen as a privilege or as a benefit, but a fundamental human right.” ― Faye Wattleton