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Why Your Gynecologist Needs to Know If You Are Sexually Active

Being aware of your sexual health is an important part of maintaining your overall wellness, and should include regular checkups with a gynecologist. But what is considered sexually active? Can a gynecologist tell if you are sexually active? Why do they need to know if you are?

A gynecologist explains to her patient what it means to be sexually active

What is considered sexually active? 

In medical terms, you are defined as sexually active if you engage in any form of sexual activity with one or more partners. This not only includes vaginal intercourse but also oral, manual (involving the use of fingers), and anal sex. Be sure to tell your gynecologist about your most recent activity, even if it was several months before. This will assist them in detecting any sexually transmitted infections, and reviewing the best birth control options for you.

You are not thought to be sexually active if you are only masturbating. From a strictly medical standpoint, although masturbation is a type of sexual act, it does not involve a partner. Therefore, you’re not at risk of contracting STDs or getting pregnant. 

Can doctors tell if you are sexually active?

Another common question among women is whether a gynecologist is able to tell when you’re sexually active. It’s very difficult and sometimes impossible for a doctor to make this determination without asking you. A pelvic or visual exam usually doesn’t offer many clues about sexual activity. Be honest with your doctor so they can check for early signs of pregnancy, and test for gonorrhea, genital herpes, and other STIs when necessary. This also allows them to ask the right follow-up questions and to discuss proper methods of birth control.

As a teenager or young woman, you may have wondered at one point whether your doctor could tell if you were still a virgin. The truth is that a woman’s hymen, a flexible stretch of skin that some people are actually born without, is not an indication of virginity. As a result, it isn’t possible for a doctor to independently confirm if you’re a virgin or not. 

The only time anyone can really know anything about your sex life and level of activity is when you choose to share this information with them. 

A teenage girl

Why you should tell your doctor everything 

If you’ve recently become sexually active and are feeling a bit nervous about your next visit to the gynecologist, there’s no need to worry. Having an open and honest discussion about your sexual activity is crucial to maintaining your health. Keeping your doctor in the loop means that they can potentially:

  • Test for STDs and STIs: 

The main reason why doctors ask about your activity is to evaluate your chances for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. This allows them to detect and diagnose these issues early on and to start immediate treatment.

  • Recommend methods of birth control: 

A doctor who is familiar with your sexual history is equipped to discuss the various birth control options available to you. They’ll be able to provide useful information and advice so you can choose the method that suits your lifestyle. 

  • Discuss safe and healthy sex practices: 

Opening the lines of communication between you and your doctor regarding sex also helps them determine if you are practicing it safely. They can even assist you in dealing with any sex-related problems or issues that may arise.

  • Look for signs of pregnancy: 

A routine doctor’s visit will likely include a quick check for pregnancy symptoms if they are made aware that you’re being sexually active. This will enable them to detect the early stages of pregnancy and to go over important next steps with you.

While we’ve all heard the term “sexually active” before, its exact meaning eludes many of us. From a medical perspective, this includes current or past sexual activity (vaginal, oral, manual or anal) with one or more partners. Being open with your gynecologist about your sexual history allows them to test for pregnancy or STIs, discuss birth control methods, and offer key advice. 

It’s perfectly natural and normal to be a sexually active adult. By building a trusting relationship with your gynecologist, you can work together to ensure that you continue to lead a safe and healthy sex life.

https://teenhealthcare.org/blog/you-asked-it-what-does-sexually-active-mean/

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/ask-experts/i-went-to-the-doctors-today-and-i-told-the-doctor-im-
not-sexually-active-which-is-a-complete-lie-is-that-wayy-bad

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835854/

http://plannedparenthood.tumblr.com/post/28998584630/can-a-gynecologist-tell-if-youre-a-virgin

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/expert-pelvic-exam.html

https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/masturbatessexually-active-0

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