Sexual health and sexual rights
Coming up with a precise definition of sexual health is a difficult task, as each culture, subculture, and individual has different standards regarding sexuality. However, we can safely say that sexual health goes beyond the issues of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. With this in mind, the World Health Organization defines sexual health as
a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality that is not simply the absence of dysfunction, disease, or disease. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relations, as well as the possibility of an enjoyable and safe sexual experience, free from coercion, discrimination, and violence.
In addition, the World Health Organization is adamant that in order to achieve and maintain sexual health, the sexual rights of all people must be respected, protected, and fulfilled. Because sexual health is not limited to reproductive issues, we cannot treat sexual rights and reproductive rights as interchangeable. This distinction is important because, through it, acceptance of sexual rights means that society recognizes sexuality as an integral part of who we all are and that it can be expressed in many ways beyond our reproductive biology, roles, and abilities.
Sexuality is a complex phenomenon that depends on a number of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, legal, historical, and religious factors. In this line of thought, sexual rights, without which it is impossible to guarantee the sexual health of people, usually include:
- the right to have sexual relations, with whom to have such relations, and how to have them;
- the right to privacy, freedom of expression, and autonomy of the body;
- The right to accessible and reliable information in the field of sexual and reproductive services, which guarantees informed and agreed decisions of people;
- The right to free and informed choice regarding sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity, guarantees a life without discrimination, coercion, and violence.
While there is no single set of sexual rights listed, there is general agreement that the responsible exercise of human rights requires that all people respect the rights of others.
However, according to more conservative critics, precisely because of their vague scope, such definitions contribute to “contradictory sexual ideologies and types of sexual behavior” with dangerous consequences for the health and development of children and the education of certain family, religious and cultural values.