The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Health Unit is encouraging people to look after their sexual health.

With Valentines falling in the same week as Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness week, HKPR is promoting the idea that good sexual health practices are important at all stages of life.

A Public Health Nurse, Jennifer Kurjupweit, says “at any age or stage of life, we need to look after our sexual health since it is important for overall well-being,” adding “big or small, old or new and at every age in between, our sexual health matters.”

The health unit says the theme this year was sexual health is important for all stages of life, and that there are ways to promote that ideology through the stages of life.

According to Kurjupweit, for babies and children, it is important, in an age-appropriate way, to teach that sexuality is natural and that it is a normal and healthy part of childhood and adolescence. Kurjupweit says  “we need to move away from a one-time, awkward conversation about the birds and the bees with children and instead normalize talking about gender and sexuality as they grow up.”

For teens Kurjupweit says, it is important to teach them about puberty, the changes their body will go through, and teach them to make safe and appropriate choices.

In terms of adult sexual health, Kurjupweit explains that sexual health for adults goes beyond the decision whether or not to have kids. “Sexual health also means taking care of our reproductive health, reducing our risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections, and addressing sexual dysfunction, pain and other concerns we may have about sex,” Kurpjuweit says. “Building and nurturing a healthy relationship can also increase sexual satisfaction and help support overall well-being.”

The sexual health of seniors, Kurjupweit says, is not just about sex, sexuality can be “intimacy, touch and love” She says nurturing sexual health is a part of taking care of your overall health even in later years.