6 January 2023

Sexuality is a vital part of being human. Sexual intimacy and affection contribute to healthy relationships and personal well-being. But along with these positive aspects, there are also illnesses and unintended consequences that can affect our sexual health. It is then important to openly discuss sexuality issues to promote sexual health and responsibility.

How is sexual health defined?

It is challenging to define sexual health because it is viewed differently by each society, subculture, and individual. However, sexual health can be viewed as the capacity to accept and appreciate your sexuality throughout your life. It is crucial to both your physical and mental well-being.

Who are considered sexually healthy individuals?

Being sexually healthy means you:

  • Understand that sexuality is natural and involves more than sexual behaviour
  • Are able to experience sexual pleasure, intimacy, and satisfaction, when desired
  • Are able to communicate with sexual partner and healthcare provider or gynecologist about sexual health
  • Recognise and respect the sexual rights all people equally share
  • Have access to information, education, and care on sexual health
  • Strive to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases and seek treatment and care when needed

Sexual health encompasses the physical, emotional, psychological, mental, and spiritual dimensions. Specifically, sexually healthy adults are characterised by the following:

Communication

They can/are:

  • Interact with different genders appropriately and respectfully
  • Ask questions with fellow adults regarding sexual issues when needed
  • Communicate with their partner their sensual, non-sensual desires and intentions for the relationship respectfully
  • Accept refusals of a sexual offer without getting offended or insulted
  • Discuss with their partner about factors in sexual activity, such as contraception and sexual limits
  • Sensitive to nonverbal cues of other people

Relationship with others

They can/are:

  • Avoid abusive or exploitative relationships
  • Select partners who are trustworthy, responsible, and giving
  • Express sexually without involving the genitals (e.g., kissing, hugging, and caressing)
  • Sexually intimate without physical touch (e.g., verbal expression of love, talking about sexual emotions)

Self-esteem and self-worth

They can/are:

  • Appreciative of their bodies
  • Sensually aware and able to remain conscious in their bodies
  • Touch their bodies without insecurity
  • Allow themselves to enjoy sensual and sexual feelings
  • Sense when to ask for simple touch instead of sexual attention
  • Able to develop a sense of self
  • Allow themselves to be vulnerable
  • Comfortable with the sexual identity, expression, and orientation
  • Aware of the impact of undesirable sexual experiences, such as sexual abuse
  • Proactive in overcoming unwanted past experiences
  • Confident and feel secure in setting boundaries

Education

They can/are:

  • Knowledgeable of the consequences of sexual activity
  • Aware of the influence of social and mainstream media on their thoughts, emotions, values, and behaviours in relation to sexuality
  • Respect the shared right of engaging and enjoying consensual, non-exploitative sexual activity

Body integrity

They can/are:

  • Effectively using contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases if sexually active
  • Practise self-care behaviours, such as breast self-examinations, regular checkups, and testing or screening for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases

Spirituality

They can/are:

  • Comprehend that being sexually active is associated with being human
  • Honour the sanctity of the sexual union
  • Understand that sexual connection between partners is one way of linking the human body and soul

What are the consequences of lack of sexual health resources and education?

The lack of healthy and inclusive sex education exposes people to unnecessary risk, unaware of the dangers of unprotected sex. Preventive measures to ensure utmost safety and consensual enjoyment are also missed out. This lack of education could result in a multitude of unwanted pregnancies and people contracting chronic and sexually transmitted diseases, which can impair them for the rest of their lives.

How can I improve my sexual health?

Here are some tips to help improve your sexual health:

  • Constant communication with your partner. Get comfortable discussing your preferences with your partner. It may be awkward at first, but it will get easier the more frequently you do it. You will have a solid emotional connection when you communicate openly and honestly.
  • Embrace your body at every age. Share your insecurities with your partner to help desensitise your insecurity, as women are more concerned about their body flaws than their partners. Doing so makes you focus more on enjoying the connection and pleasure rather than worrying about your extra pounds or scars.
  • Ask for external support. Talk to your healthcare provider or a behavioural health specialist to address if there are underlying medical conditions or hormonal changes in your body. They can help optimise your sexual response and enhance your sexual intimacy.

Conclusion

Sex evolves through life, and this is considered normal. Our minds and bodies change through experiences and age. Thus, you need to be tuned in to your body and seek medical help early from women’s health clinic Singapore should you detect any problem with your sexual health. 

 

References

https://www.healthhub.sg/

https://www.health.state.mn.us/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/

https://www.bannerhealth.com/