Just like the rest of your health, your sexual health needs regular maintenance to ensure it remains in good working order. Yet unfortunately, sex isn't something that is often openly discussed and talked about.

Often we only think about our health once we become ill, yet most of us know it's much better to take action to prevent ever getting ill. Sexual health is no different. It is much better to look after all aspects of your sexual health so you can prevent getting sick.

Taking care of your sexual health means that you have a physically and emotionally, enjoyable and satisfying sexual life.

There are many things that can impact on your sexual health such as:

  • how you are feeling
  • your desires
  • religious and spiritual beliefs
  • what society thinks and expects
  • your relationships with people close to you
  • the forms of contraception you choose to use
  • what you think or feel about sex
  • society's attitude towards gender
  • other health conditions
  • your experience and skills in negotiating sex.

Good sexual health means making sure you have the knowledge, skills and ability to make informed sexual choices and acting responsibly to protect your health and the health of others.

Today when people talk about sexual health they are talking about a broad range of issues including:

  • sexual development
  • sexual function
  • sexual behaviour
  • self esteem
  • intimacy
  • gender roles and identity
  • sexual rights
  • body image
  • relationships
  • sexual identity
  • reproductive health
  • HIV and STI prevention.

The World Health Organisation says...

"[Sexual health is]...the integration of the physical, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of sexual being, in ways that are positively enriching and that enhance personality, communication and love."

"[Sexual health involves]...a capacity to enjoy and control sexual and reproductive behaviour in accordance with a social and personal ethic."

"[Sexual health involves]...freedom from fear, shame, guilt, false beliefs and other psychological factors inhibiting sexual response and impairing sexual relationships."

"[Sexual health involves]...freedom from organic disorders, diseases and deficiencies that interfere with sexual and reproductive function."

Current as at: Thursday 7 March 2013
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health