What Is a Sexual Health Visit?

Getting ready for your first sexual experience can be nerve-wracking, especially if you have certain expectations around this first experience. A sexual health visit is a women's health exam (or premarital visit) that you can schedule with your doctor to prepare for sexual activity. 

Whether you’re postponing sexual activity for religious, cultural, or personal reasons, it’s normal to have anxiety before your first time. A sexual health visit can help you prepare physically and emotionally.

What You Can Expect at a Sexual Health Visit (Premarital Visit)

If you request a premarital visit, your doctor will schedule you for a basic gynecological exam where you can establish a relationship with your doctor before you begin having sex. While the term "premarital exam" is what some people have heard of, the visit itself is called a sexual health visit.

The visit itself can include a discussion of anything you’d like—you can discuss any of these things with your doctor: 

  • Contraceptive counseling (birth control) and a prescription or placement.
  • Your anatomy and physiology (you do not need an exam for this part either; we have diagrams and 3D models.).
  • How to make sexual activity an enjoyable experience for you.
  • Testing and counseling for sexually transmitted infections.
  • The HPV vaccine: What is is and when we recommend it.
  • Cervical cancer screening: What it is and when we recommend it.
  • Any specific questions or concerns you may have.
  • Any questions about becoming pregnant for people desiring pregnancy.

Pelvic Exam

We will offer you a pelvic exam if:

  • you have particular concerns or symptoms,
  • need cervical cancer screening, or
  • elect to have us place intrauterine contraception.

If you do need an exam, our physicians will work with you to make it as comfortable as possible. You are welcome to have counseling alone at your visit and schedule a follow-up if you need an examination.

We will also arrange a follow-up visit or referral if we determine you need a different service.

Discussing Birth Control Options

Not all women want to prevent pregnancy after getting married. Some will choose to try to start getting pregnant right away. But if you want to postpone or prevent pregnancy altogether, talking about birth control options before you start having sex is a good choice.

Your doctor can talk about the best birth control options for you. These may include birth control pills, an arm implant, or even an IUD.

Myths: Antibiotics in Case of UTI

A urinary tract infection (or UTI) happens when bacteria around your anus travels up your urethra and into your bladder.

There is a common myth that if you’ve never been sexually active before, you may have a higher chance of developing a bladder infection if there’s frequent sexual activity during your honeymoon. 

We don't recommend antibiotics before sexual activity if you don't have in infection.

Making Sexual Experience Enjoyable for You 

It's important to remember that for many people, the first time having sex is a happy, positive experience. But you may have deep anxiety about having sex for the first time.

Sexual experiences, however, are different for everyone. Your doctor will be happy to discuss how to make sexual activity an enjoyable experience for you.

 

Things to Do Before Becoming Sexually Active

  1. Get a Pap smear if you’re over 21.
  2. Talk about any concerns you have, such as pain, infertility, or family history of disease. It’s never too early to start talking about this. Even before you start having sex, your doctor can help identify tests if you’re worried you can’t get pregnant or you have a higher chance of developing disease based on your family history.
  3. Make sure you’re comfortable with your doctor.

This is probably the most important part. You can get pre-sexual care from a gynecologist, a family medicine provider, or a midwife. Whoever you choose, your health provider should:

  • respect your personal wishes,
  • provide accurate health information,
  • and present a full range of options to you in a non-judgmental way.

For example, your health provider should support your personal decisions about whether to become a parent. Do you want to delay having children—or not have children at all?

Whatever you decide, your provider should respect your wishes and talk about the full range of birth control options that will help you postpone or prevent pregnancy.

Remember that it’s normal to have anxiety no matter what you do to get ready for your wedding night. Getting a women's health exam can help reduce stress so you can focus on the exciting part—starting a new, healthy life with your spouse.