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Sexual Health

Our Approach

Sexuality is a valuable and important component of our wellbeing.  At Community Health, we work from the perspective that social contexts influence our sexual identity, values, desires, behaviors, and health.

It is common to see sex depicted freely in the media, but we do not have many opportunities to explore what it means to be sexual, to understand our desires and boundaries, and to express our sexuality.   Community Health strives to support student’s development of skills and situations to understand these key human needs.   Healthy relationships and personal health are enhanced by familiarity and confidence about our sexuality and sexual choices.

Defining Sexual Health

According to the American Social Health Association and the World Health Organization (http://www.ashastd.org/sexualhealth/index.cfm) “defining sexual health is a difficult task, as each culture, sub-culture, and individual has different standards of sexual health.” 

The World Health Organization defines sexual health as "a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related 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."

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. We hope you will explore our site to learn more about some of the ways to actively engage in your own sexual health.

A Sex Positive Perspective

We approach sexual health from a sex positive perspective. The following is a helpful description of what we mean by sex positive:

Sex-positive is a simple yet radical affirmation that we each grow our own passions on a different medium, that instead of having two or three or even half a dozen sexual orientations, we should be thinking in terms of millions. "Sex-positive" respects each of our unique sexual profiles, even as we acknowledge that some of us have been damaged by a culture that tries to eradicate sexual difference and possibility. Even so, we grow like weeds.” – Dr Carol Queen.

Harm Reduction

In addition, at Community Health we address sexual health issues through a harm reduction or harm minimization perspective.  This refers to a range of pragmatic and evidence-based public health policies designed to reduce the harmful consequences associated with high-risk activities.  However, when we address issues of violence and sexual violence a harm reduction approach is not appropriate. Sexual health Information

Public Health Perspective

A public health perspective on sexual health looks at the broad patterns of prevalence, access, resilience and vulnerability among the population as a whole, and various sub groups.

Education about sexual health as well as access to resources for health care and sexual decision-making are unequally distributed worldwide.  Numerous case studies demonstrate that unequal outcomes are associated with this unequal distribution.

Social status, access to resources, marginalization of sexual and gender identities, racial and ethnic factors, age and ability all contribute to a person’s sexual health and ability to make decisions.  Each of these factors can be addressed by public policy initiatives.

Scientific Evidence Tells Us

Early and ongoing sexual health education at the appropriate developmental level is effective for protecting and maintaining health and enable people to stay in school, be successful in school, and have good life-long sexual health.

For more information about the effectiveness of comprehensive sexual health education look at the following articles in:

Journal of Adolescent Health

The Community Guide

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