Sexual health is quite hard to define because it means different things to different people.
In order to work with sexual health as an issue, a definition of sexual health is required. GOSHH has therefore adopted the World Health Organisation working definitions.
These are not official and the word ‘working’ means that they are subject to change. One significant aspect that does not change is the idea that sexual health is not purely the absence of infection. It also includes the emotional, physical and social aspects of a person.
Definition of Sexual health according to the World Health Organisation – (the quote below is taken directly from their website):
“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health 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. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”
Sexual Health is how you feel about yourself as a sexual being and includes your rights and responsibilities as a person.
Below is another definition of sexual health according to the Office of the Surgeon General – the quote is taken directly from Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology website.
“Sexual health is inextricably bound to both physical and mental health. Just as physical and mental health problems can contribute to sexual dysfunction and diseases, those dysfunctions and diseases can contribute to physical and mental health problems. Sexual health is not limited to the absence of disease or dysfunction, nor is its importance confined to just the reproductive years. It includes the ability to understand and weigh the risks, responsibilities, outcomes and impacts of sexual actions and to practice abstinence when appropriate. It includes freedom from sexual abuse and discrimination and the ability of individuals to integrate their sexuality into their lives, derive pleasure from it, and to reproduce if they so choose.”
We believe that sexual health is a human right, incorporating the mental, emotional, social and physical aspects of a person. We believe that pleasure and consent are integral parts of sexual health and are relevant throughout a person’s lifespan
So….sexual health is all about you, your relationships, your sexuality and your pleasure.