What is Sexual Health?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as "the state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction and infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive, 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."
What is Sex?
All people are sexual beings from birth to death. Our sexuality includes:
- Our bodies
- Anatomical structures (sexual organs)
- There is a broad spectrum of activities involving varying levels of risk
- Physical activities involving sexual organs for the purpose of pleasure
- Our biological sex
- Our gender — our biological, social, and legal status as girls and boys, women and men
- Our gender identities — how we feel about our gender
- Our sexual orientations — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual
- Human sexuality – the ways in which we experience and express ourselves as sexual beings
- Our sexuality also includes feelings, attitudes, relationships, self-image, ideals, and behaviors, and it influences how we experience the world.
- Our values about life, love, and the people in our lives
Not everyone has the same definition of sex and what it includes so when you are talking with your partner, make sure both parties understands what you are talking about!
The SHS Health Promotion Department approaches safer sex with a harm reduction approach. We focus on education and prevention. Our message: “Should you choose to have sex, here’s how to protect yourself and your partner by practicing safer sex.”
What is Safer Sex?
Safer sex means protecting yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV and unplanned pregnancy. It can also mean deciding to abstain from sexual intercourse or finding other forms of sexual expression that do not involve the exchange of bodily fluids.
Abstinence is the only 100 percent foolproof method of preventing STIs, HIV and pregnancy.
- Abstinence can mean just saying no.
- Abstinence can mean waiting for the right person, time and place.
- It can be finding ways to be intimate with someone without the exchange of bodily fluids.
- Abstinence can last for an evening or for years.
Abstinence can also mean different things for different people depending on that person’s definition of sex.