According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Sexual Health is ‘A state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.’ It thus includes a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, and the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences that are free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. This simply means safety from sexual illness and violence, as well as being free to decide if, when and how to reproduce.
Correspondingly, sexuality is a central aspect of humanity that is affected by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious, and spiritual factors. It includes, sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction. Sexuality is mostly experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles, and relationships.
One can therefore conclude that sexuality is multidimensional and dynamic, that is, other than including socioeconomic, spiritual, psychological and biological components, it changes with time, place and partners. Additionally, sexuality is constructed both individually and culturally.
- 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 seeking care and treatment when needed;
- Being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired; and
- Being able to communicate about sexual health with others, including sexual partners and healthcare providers.
- Comprehensive good-quality information about sex and sexuality;
- Knowledge about the risks they face and their vulnerability to the adverse consequences of sexual activity;
- Their access to sexual health care; and
- An environment that affirms and promotes sexual health.
- Infections with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs), and their adverse outcomes (such as cancer and infertility);
- Unintended pregnancy and abortion;
- Sexual dysfunction;
- Sexual violence; and
- Harmful practices (such as female genital mutilation, FGM).