Coming up with a definition of sexual health is a difficult task, as each culture, sub-culture, and individual has different standards of sexual health. ASHA believes that sexual health includes far more than avoiding disease or unplanned pregnancy. We also believe that having a sexually transmitted infection or unwanted pregnancy does not prevent someone from being or becoming sexually healthy.
Here is ASHA's definition of sexual health:
Sexual health is the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives. It is an important part of our physical and emotional health.
Being sexually healthy means:
- 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 seek care and treatment when needed.
- Being able to experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when desired.
- Being able to communicate about sexual health with others including sexual partners and healthcare providers.
In 2011, ASHA worked with MediaPlanet, major media company, to produce a supplement to USA Today focused entirely on sexual health. Published in late December, the supplement offered ASHA the opportunity to approach the subject of sexual health in a positive and healthy way in the mainstream media. We hope that supplement not only informs millions of readers about vital personal health issues, but also helps break through the taboo of talking about sex, STIs, and sexual health.