By Kate Harveston
Sexual health is an important part of your overall health, but talking about it can be such a taboo subject that you might hesitate to ask questions, even if the only person you're talking to is your OB/GYN. Many people are beginning to rely on the internet for sexual health products and services that can be used anonymously, through both smartphones and computers.
You shouldn't use them in lieu of a doctor, but if you're looking to have some quick questions answered or just want to have a back-up guide to your sexual health between doctor's appointments, here are some of the best new products to help you do just that.
1. Smartphone apps
For many people nowadays, the smartphone never leaves their side. Be that healthy or not, it does provide the perfect opportunity to help people keep up with their own sexual health at home and on the go — there are so many apps available for this sole purpose that we could write an entire article just about them! Anyway, a few apps you might want to consider include:
- Clue — This is a period tracker that doesn't look like a period tracker. It helps you track your period, your fertile days and even your moods, all while sitting hidden in plain sight on your home screen.
- Spot On — Another period tracker, this one created by Planned Parenthood. This app also helps you keep track of your birth control, reminding you to take your pill every day and keeping track of your upcoming appointments. If you're awful at remembering your pills, this app is for you.
- Breast Test — It's vitally important for you to do a monthly breast self-exam. This app reminds you when to do your exam and even provides how-to instructions in case you've forgotten.
- MyPill — A birth control tracking app that helps you keep track of your symptoms, reminds you to take your pills, and even provides a community where you can ask questions and get answers anonymously.
- Glow — If you're trying to get pregnant, this is the app for you. It tracks your period, your ovulation and your fertile periods so you know when to hop in bed for your best chance of conception.
This is just a small sample of the potential apps available — do a quick search for birth control or period tracker apps on either the App store or the Play store and you'll be treated to dozens of options. Just pick the one that works best for you!
2. Hygiene products (and delivery!)
Running out of pads or tampons, especially during your period, is the worst thing. Thankfully, we live in the era of Uber and Uber Eats and other similar programs where you can get just about anything delivered to your door in a short period of time, depending on where you live. A few programs to consider might include:
- GoPuff — This app isn't limited to hygiene products. You can get that ice cream you're craving delivered, too! This app is limited to a specific number of cities right now, but if you live in one of these areas, you're in luck — you can get your tampons delivered in 30 minutes, anytime during the day or night.
- L — Whether you need pads, tampons or condoms, L has you covered. This company specializes in organic hygiene products that don't contain any harmful chemicals and you can have them delivered right to your door.
- Amazon Prime — If you know what brand you like to use, order it from Amazon. If you subscribe to have the product delivered every month, you can qualify for as much as 15% off your order price.
Periods are a big part of our sexual health but that doesn't mean we should have to run out to buy tampons — we do live in the 21st century after all! Have those babies delivered (um, no pun intended?)!
3. Preventing sexual violence
Sexual violence is one of the biggest problems women today face — according to RAINN, a person is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds in the United States. Terrifying statistics like that are why so many companies are creating apps and programs to help fight the violence, including:
- Circle of 6 — This app lets you choose up to 6 people from your contact list and makes it simple to connect with them if you need an interruption for a date that's going badly, or need help getting home safely.
- Undercover Colors — A nail polish currently in development that enables you to tell if someone has tampered with your drink. Just dip your painted nail in the drink and if it changes color, it means that it has detected the presence of a common date-rape drug.
- Roar for Good — This small wearable can emit a loud alarm and text your contacts if you're in danger. It can also be used in silent mode if you're in a situation where a loud alarm would be inappropriate or dangerous.
Sexual assault is something that we hope no one has to experience but until that becomes a reality, there are plenty of tools to help you protect yourself.
4. Fitness products
What a lot of people forget is that your overall fitness levels play a big role in your sexual health — and there are tons of apps and programs designed to make fitness, if not fun, at least bearable.
- MindBody — if you like fitness classes, this app is for you. Find your favorite classes, book your appointments and even pay for some classes directly through the app. Find everything from pilates to Zumba to barre.
- Nexercise — Feed that competitive streak. This free app lets you complete with your friends while you're reaching your fitness goals.
- Virtual Runner — Bored of your normal treadmill workout? So are we. Virtual runner provides you with high-def videos of popular places to keep your run interesting. You do have to pay to unlock courses though, which may get expensive. Give it a try to see if you can make it work for yourself.
- Fitocracy — This app is great for gamers. Enter your workout to earn points and level-up as you meet your fitness goals. This is a great app to compete with your friends too.
We could sit here all day writing about fitness programs. Do a quick search of your device's app store and you'll find hundreds of free and paid apps to help you meet your goals.
Don't neglect your sexual health just because you're embarrassed to ask your doctor questions about your period. While none of these apps or programs are a replacement for a medical professional, they can be great tools to help you build your confidence day-in and day-out, and to keep up with your own sexual health outside of the doctor's office.