The phrase “sexual health” encompasses a range of public health and clinical issues related to the treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, practicing safe sex, improving male libido and female libido, treating dysfunctions and enhancing sex life. In fact, the concept of sexual health seems to be of fundamental relevance to all aspects of modern life and the best approaches to modern healthcare.
All of the talks about sexual health don’t seem to have influenced the day-to-day particulars of our work. Sex still is primarily seen as a set of risk factors that we counsel against. I am convinced that this perspective on sex and sexuality as “risk” legitimates the stigma associated with sexually transmitted infections and contributes to our society’s poisonous intolerance of sexual diversity. A sexual health perspective incorporates the concept of personal and epidemiologic risks of sex but recognizes the pervasive importance of sex in our lives.
What is 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.
How to improve sexual health?
Factors that may influence the ‘right’ or ‘improved’ sex are often culturally or religious-related. Sexual intercourse can create pleasant feelings for some people but can be discouraging for others.
In order to improve the sexual experience, people should be encouraged to get regular sexual health advice and to establish regular sex-related activities. It can be difficult for young people to speak out about this because it is not usually associated with their own sexuality. When young people feel unable to engage in sex or contraception because of it, the risk of unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increases.
School-based services should be encouraged to offer information and programs to help young men and women learn their sexuality and provide advice on all aspects of sexual health and sex life.