Better Sexual Health? There’s an App for That
The average young American woman spends from four to ten hours each day on her phone. Why not use some of that time to take charge of your sex life? From managing PMS to reminders about birth control, from improving your satisfaction to keeping yourself safe, apps aimed at young women can help demystify and improve your sexual health. Below you’ll find links to a few of the apps now available and descriptions of how they might work for you.
Clue Period & Health Tracker: “Your health will no longer be a mystery.”
If you don’t know when to expect your period, how can you tell if you’re late? Clue Period & Health Tracker aims to help women understand their cycles. Once you begin entering your data each month—the day your period starts, how heavy each day is, and changes in mood or weight, for example—the app provides predictions and suggestions. You can plan for when to avoid sex, when you might want to go on vacation—or when you might want to stay home and binge-watch your favorite shows with a pint of ice cream. Tracking your cycle can minimize surprises, including unintended pregnancy—if you use the information to make sure you’re having safe sex, of course.
In addition to the app, Clue’s Web site also offers a wealth of articles women can use to learn more about health issues, from how to determine the causes of irregular periods to what to expect before, during, and after an abortion.
Clue was rated the top free period and ovulation tracker app by the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the publication of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Doctors stress that it is up to each woman to learn as much as she can about her own body to keep herself healthy. This app can help you “get a clue.”
Eve: “Know what’s up down there!”
Eve bills itself as “a savvy period tracker and sex app.” In addition to tracking your menstrual cycle, it asks for simple info on your sex habits (“Did you get some?”); your mood (“How are you feeling? Happy, Emotional, Stressed, or Frisky?”); and other data, such as symptoms, exercise habits, and more. Having all of this info in one place can help you see patterns—for example, that you’re always emotional on the first day of your cycle but feeling frisky by day 3. The app can predict when your next period is due and give you an idea of your chances of getting pregnant at specific points in your cycle. Fun daily quizzes promise to make you a “sexpert” in no time.
Bedsider: “Remembering to take your birth control just got a lot more awesome.”
Staying on top of your birth control—when to take it, when you need your prescription refilled, and when to see your healthcare provider—isn’t always easy. But forgetting about it can lead to an unwanted pregnancy. Bedsider is an online birth control support network that aims to help. Their birth control reminder app can be used for a variety of different methods: the pill, patch, ring, or shot. You can set when you want to receive reminders and even “hit snooze” to be reminded later once the notification comes in. Plus, according to Bedsider, “These aren’t plain reminders that will bore you. Oh, no. These are funny, cheeky, entertaining reminders you’ll actually want to receive.”
My Sex Doctor: “All the things you want to know about sex, in the palm of your hand!”
Targeted at young adults, this app wants to “start a welcome and long-due revolution, one where you no longer have to risk embarrassment.” The app contains a huge amount of information on topics ranging from puberty to pregnancy and everything in between. An extensive dictionary of terms can help make sure you understand what you’re reading, and straightforward questions (“Am I in a healthy relationship?”) are answered clearly and directly. The app also offers a symptom checker, which allows users to select a symptom and then learn which STD may be causing it.
The app is discreet—no one would suspect that you’re reading about sexual positions or uncomfortable symptoms on a crowded commute! While nothing can truly take the place of an appointment with a trusted healthcare provider, this free app can provide a great amount of information to get you started.
Circle of 6: “A new line of defense against violence.”
Circle of 6 is a personal safety app that won the White House “Apps Against Abuse” Technology challenge. Using the app, you choose up to six friends to add to your “circle.” If you get into an uncomfortable situation—from a date that just doesn’t feel right to a confrontation with a partner that frightens you—you can tap the app to send a pre-programmed alert message with your exact location to everyone in your circle.
The messages you can send vary. In a scary situation or separated from your friends late at night? The first option sends your precise GPS location with the message “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.” Out with someone new and getting vibes that make you think twice? The second option sends a text to your circle saying “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.” Need your people for any reason? The third simply sends a text saying “I need to talk.” All three messages can be sent just by tapping an icon within the app, and the app itself is discreet—the person you’re with won’t know you’re reaching out to your circle of trusted friends for help in real time. The app strives to prevent violence before it happens, and in addition offers a library of information on healthy relationships.
Finally, Health Apps are Amazing, but…
While many apps available today can be tremendously helpful, experts agree: you have to be careful about what information you use. Some sites and applications offer inaccurate or incomplete information. Don’t hesitate to contact your trusted healthcare provider to talk over questions and concerns, and partner with your doctor to make big decisions. There’s no substitute for a provider who cares—and you owe it to yourself to get the excellent care you deserve.