Sexual health is about much more than body parts and infections. It’s a key part of our overall health and no wonder, since it affects our minds and bodies, families and communities, even our spirits. Sexual health touches on everything from the quality of our relationships to what goes on when we visit the medical clinic. It involves talking to our kids about safer sex, giving and getting respect from our partner, and recognizing we have a right to the sheer joy of pleasure.
Sexual health is nothing new, of course, but what’s changing is our awareness about how much it impacts individuals and society. There’s no on/off switch, either, so sex and sexuality are vital throughout our lifespan. Young or old, gay or straight, male/female/transgender. We’re all human. We’re all sexual.
Here is how ASHA defines sexual health:
Sexual health is the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives. It is an important part of our physical and emotional health.
Being sexually healthy means:
- Understanding that sexuality is a natural part of life and involves more than sexual behavior.
- Recognizing and respecting the sexual rights we all share.
- Having access to sexual health information, education, and care.
- Making an effort to prevent unintended pregnancies and STDs and seek care and treatment when needed.
- Being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired.
- Being able to communicate about sexual health with others including sexual partners and healthcare providers.