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What is Sexual Health?

The World Health Organisation defines sexual health as:

“a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence”

It includes a healthy body, freedom from guilt, shame and other emotions and the ability to enjoy sexual activities without pressure.

  • Sexual health does not just mean avoiding unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. It includes safety, respect, accurate information, pleasure, choices and an awareness of yours and other people’s rights
  • Sexual wellbeing can be linked to general overall health, mental health and more positive, respectful relationships.
  • There are physical (the body), emotional (feelings) and social aspects to sexual health.
  • It is useful to think about all of these when talking about sexual health – it’s part of a much bigger picture.