Pink Talks

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Sexual Health

Sexual health aims to be a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in regards to sexuality.

Sexual health not only refers to the absence of diseases, dysfunction or infirmity but encompasses respectful and positive approaches to sexual relationships and sexuality, the possibility of having safe and pleasurable sexual experiences based on consent.

Key components: physical well-being, emotional and mental well-being, safe and consensual relationships, prevention and management of STIs, gender equity, education and information, reproductive rights and choices.

The physical well-being of sexual health acknowledges the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy and sexual violence. Emotional and mental well-being integrates the ability to develop and maintain meaningful relationships, the appreciation of one’s own body, and the expression of affection, love and intimacy in a way that is consistent with personal values and needs.

Sexual health is founded on self-acceptance and personal awareness, the ability to communicate sexual needs and desires, to act intentionally and responsibly, and to set appropriate sexual boundaries, as well as the freedom of sexual assault/coercion. Equitable relationships regarding sexual health are emphasised to interact with all genders in respectful ways.

(Author: Faith Mutugi)

See more resources

Edwards, W.M., Coleman, E. Defining Sexual Health: A Descriptive Overview. Arch Sex Behav 33, 189–195 (2004).

Alain Giami (2002) Sexual Health: The Emergence, Development, and Diversity of a Concept, Annual Review of Sex Research, 13:1, 1-35, DOI: 10.1080/10532528.2002.10559801

Sexual Health: World Health Organisaiton (WHO). Retrieved 27th January 2024 from:

World Health Organization: Sexual Health

Peeling, R. W., Holmes, K. K., Mabey, D., & Ronald, A. (2006). Rapid tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs): the way forward. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 82(suppl_5), v1–v6.

The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV. (2001). London, England: Department of Health.

Edwards, W. M., & Coleman, E. (2004). Defining sexual health: a descriptive overview. Archives of sexual Behavior, 33,189-195.

Robinson, B. E., Bockting, W. O., Simon Rosser, B. R., Miner, M., & Coleman, E. (2002). The sexual health model: Application of a sexological approach to HIV prevention. Health education research, 17(1), 43-57.