Wherever You Live – Know the Importance of Sexual Health

Do you live in the boonies? Out in the middle of nowhere? Way out in the sticks? Out in a little slice of heaven?  Do you live in a one stop light town (or maybe you’re lucky to have flashing yellow light)? Then, you, my friend, are rural.

Rural is basically a hard word to pronounce (rur-al? rURal? rurrrall?) that means “of or relating to the country, country people or life.”

And, if you’re one of those that live in a rural community you know there are major benefits: mudding, campfires, starry skies, no traffic (unless you get stuck behind a tractor, of course), and so much more. But, people who live in rural communities can also have major challenges: poverty, lack of transportation, and no easy access to medical care.

Teens and young adults throughout the country who live in rural communities are experiencing less comprehensive sexual health than their urban counterparts due to these exact challenges.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, poverty, which is a strong predictor of teen births, is higher in rural counties throughout the US than in urban/metropolitan areas.

Also, many rural communities lack enough primary care physicians, reducing the quality of care received by all individuals from infant to elderly, including people in need of sexual health care. If you do have an appointment with your doctor, be sure to check out the Get Talking tool to know what you should cover in your appointment. It can help you prepare and provides 2 ways to approach these hard-to-have conversations: directly or in a roundabout way.

As you know, primary care doctors are not always found in the most convenient locations. Not only do teens and young adults have to travel longer distances to reach clinics, they also have little in the way of public transit options to reach them—service is frequently unavailable or inefficient and costly.

But, not all hope is lost if you can’t get to a primary care doctor; many rural areas have local low-cost clinics that provide sexual health services. You can find a clinic near by using our health clinic locator. And a plus – some clinics even offer bus tokens or gas cards for keeping your appointment. So be sure to ask!

Another challenge to sexual health in rural areas comes from the age old adage that “there’s nothing to do!” so the next best thing is having sex. Even if this may be true, you can reduce the risk for pregnancy by using birth control and skip the STIs by using condoms. There are several birth control options available – and make sure you are protecting yourself from STIs too!

Just because you live in a rural area doesn’t mean you can’t have happy, safe sex – in fact, those wide open starry skies might just make it a little happier ;)