Sexual Health: What Does It Mean to Me?

Sexual health includes physical, mental, and social aspects of well-being. Sexual health includes not just disease and pregnancy prevention, but also positive and respectful relationships, pleasure, and safe experiences free of violence and coercion. The World Health Organization (WHO) developed a list of sexual rights that everyone should be entitled to. These include:

  • the right to equality and non-discrimination
  • the right to be free from torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
  • the right to privacy
  • the rights to the highest attainable standard of health (including sexual health) and social security
  • the right to marry and to found a family and enter into marriage with the free and full consent of the intending spouses, and to equality in and at the dissolution of marriage
  • the right to decide the number and spacing of one’s children
  • the rights to information, as well as education
  • the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and
  • the right to an effective remedy for violations of fundamental rights.

There are many definitions of sexual health. For some people, it includes things like communicating about sex, reducing the risk for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, pleasure, and values. When you think about sexual health, what does it mean to you? Does it include aspects of the WHO definition? Is there anything that you think is missing? Consider adding your thoughts about sexual health to your definition.  

There are many definitions of sexual health. For some people, it includes things like communicating about sex, reducing the risk for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, pleasure, and values. When you think about sexual health, what does it mean to you? Does it include aspects of the WHO definition? Is there anything that you think is missing? Consider adding your thoughts about sexual health to your definition.  

Learn More

There are a lot of websites out there with information about sexual health and reducing risk. Here are some excellent sources where you can learn more:

American Sexual Health Association
Bedsider: Birth Control Support Network
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Sexual health page
CDC: Get Yourself Tested
CDC: STI testing locations
It’s Your Sex Life
Planned Parenthood
Scarleteen