What is sexual health?
I have started studying with the Sexual Health Alliance this week (woohoo!) and the first topic I was looking into was sexual health. Very often, we tend to feel that the absence of sickness, distress or disease makes us healthy, but is that really true?
According to the World Health Organization, sexual health is a fundamental right, but states that to achieve it there are some requirements that need to be met. Respectful and positive approaches of all topics surrounding sexuality being one requirement, having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences that are free of coercion, discrimination, and violence another one.
Well, I can safely say that I was far from a sexually healthy human being for a very long time. Especially when it came to consent – the one thing my children hear about more than once a week without fail –, there were many blurred lines. “Only yes means yes” is what a new law passed in Spain now states, making clear that even when consent was given in a moment, it can be taken back in another. I never felt I had that power as a young woman, leaving me with sexual experiences far from pleasurable, to say the least.
Only yes means yes!
Only if there is the possibility to give and withdraw consent throughout every step, is there space for sexual safety and (!!!) pleasure. Another important factor for pleasure is honesty. With oneself and any sexual partner. I remember how I struggled with sexual fantasies in the beginning of my Bodysex journey (that’s for another time) and I am sure that I just had not been honest to myself for too long to truly unlock and have access to that part inside myself. Engaging in honest conversation with your partner(s), your kids and especially with yourself is key to pleasure. This is hard. I mean, who was fortunate enough to grow up having sexual desires that met with what society expected us to find pleasurable? I certainly wasn’t. Even worse, I believed that my pleasure was just not as easily accessible as “it should be” (meaning the idea put into our heads by pretty much everything out there) and accepted it. For a while. Until I met Carlin and was introduced to Bodysex.
Yesterday I learned, for the first time, that there are actually clear definitions we could live by, educate our children by, organize our societies by. Sexual health is our birth right. Pleasure is our birth right. Ours. Everyone’s.
There are clear definitions we could go by!
I don’t know about you, but I sure feel that professionals – whether it be educators, medical professionals, or even therapists – often lack a lot of very important information. Information we would actually need in order to live a sexually healthy life.
Some great input
There is a really good interview with Emily Nagoski (sex educator, author, researcher and one of my instructors), looking into several important questions surrounding this question.