The Intersection of Sexual & Mental Health

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Now, maybe more than ever, we are confronted with expectations to maintain, if not improve our general health and wellbeing. But good health is a lot more than a trip to the gym, the latest food fad, or even the newest mediation app. Our health goes beyond what people see and almost always more than what people are willing to talk about. 

Where does sexual care fit in our journey of a happy and healthy lifestyle? What about mental health? Sexual health, particularly vaginal care, is often cast aside, or not even considered in regard to our overall well being. We know this to be true because there remains a widespread lack of access to reproductive health care like abortion and menstrual products while STI stigma and sex worker prejudice pervades our culture. 

Our health goes beyond what people see and almost always more than what people are willing to talk about. 

Not only do we often lack the physical items and access to help us care for ourselves, but we are not often empowered (let alone encouraged) to prioritize our feelings about our sexual and mental health, which are inherently related. 

Before we started Momotaro Apotheca nearly 3 years ago I NEEDED a solution for the chronic sexual health issues I was experiencing. My journey was not about exploring my sexuality, trying new things, or even “taking control of my body.” I had recurrent infections and found myself at a point where I needed something that made me feel better physically and mentally. 

It was ESSENTIAL, not only for my sexual health, but overall wellbeing. I needed a solution that helped me feel better, get on with my day, and didn’t shame me for having a yeast infection or general discomfort after sex. At the precipice of my health issues, the level of frustration and physical discomfort I was experiencing was taking a toll on every aspect of my life. 

Momotaro Apotheca aims to not only help alleviate the physical discomfort we as vulva owners often deal with on a regular basis, but also calm the myriad of mental health grievances that may come along with recurrent yeast infections, changes in our bodies from puberty to menopause, and even our identities as sexual beings. 

We understand that there’s not a single solution to any of these issues, and these issues keep on changing. But through educating ourselves, connecting with others, and driving the conversation surrounding sexual health forward, we have ultimately found comfort in a community that shares our goals. 

We’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite websites, apps, and people who have helped us better understand our bodies while discovering innovative and practical ways to reverse the negative connotations we have been taught to associate with our sexuality.

OOTify

Ootify Mental Health Resource
via @ootify

This online mental health community democratizes mental healthcare for everyone, everywhere. OOTify uses data-driven matching technology to connect you with a therapist or resource that's right for you

Queer Sex Therapy

Casey Tanner of Queer Sex Therapy ponders "What if, just for today, I don't psychoanalyze myself?"
via @queersextherapy

Casey Tanner is a queer-identifying, intersectional sex and relationship therapist who specializes in working with the LGBTQIA+ community and now offers therapy and coaching from home. She’s taken on the role as our virtual big sister who gives great advice when we’re feeling disconnected and overwhelmed and her muted feed will help you recognize that healing doesn’t have to happen alone. 

Sad Girls Club

"Endeavor to become a safe space for yourself first and foremost" by @themindgeek featured on @sadgirlsclub

by @themindgeek featured on @sadgirlsclub

This online and IRL community wants to remove the negative stigma integrated in mental health conversations by providing mental health services to those who do not have access to therapy or other forms of treatment through building real spaces where womxn can come together to know that they are not alone. 

ARFA

IG Live on Arfa Brands
IG Live Schedule week of April 27 through April 30 via @arfabrands

Arfa has re-imagined the health industry to create personal care products for actual people with unique bodies and individual wants and needs. As a company, they’re giving people the power by making them partners in the process of creating and developing the products they use on their bodies every day. As a friend, they create content that addresses (and then shatters) everything we thought we knew about our bodies, mental health, and sexuality. Read these thoughtful articles here and follow their inspiring insta at @arfabrands

What’s Up?

Whats Up Mental Health App
What's Up for IOS and Android

What’s Up is a free mental health app that helps keep things in perspective. Using CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) methods, this app helps you overcome negative thinking patterns while tracking your progress. 

Molly-Margaret Johnson

The Ten Commandments of Molly Margaret Johnson
illustration by Kitsch Harris for Momotaro Apotheca via @whatswrongwithmollymargaret 

Sex positive gay poet and genius behind @whatswrongwithmollymargaret was one of the first accounts to really gain traction in the Instagram realm that spoke candidly about sexual wellness, relationships, and "how to be the fucking prize,’ all while normalizing the way we speak about vaginal conditions like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections—conditions that are often glossed over or outright ignored in  perfectly curated online communities. If you’re not already following her, meet your new all-purpose best friend to get you through the good times and the bad.

 

Taking care of yourself sometimes comes in the form of preventative care. You don’t have to wait for things to get bad before you start showing up for yourself. 

If you find that you’re struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to, 7 Cups will connect you with caring listeners, and if you need trained mental health support, please visit the Crisis Text Line.

 

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