The Sexual Part of Sexual Health
September 4th was World Sexual Health Day and its theme was to explore what sexual health is really all about. When most of us hear “sexual health,” usually we think about an appointment we have to make with our gynecologist or remembering to get an annual prostate exam. While these things are important, there are other aspects of sexual health that are not as widely discussed.
Youth sex education
Nearly 71 percent of teens have had sex by the time they hit their 19th birthday.(1) This large percentage shows that educating young people about sex when they are adolescents is vital to their sexual health and well-being. Young people need comprehensive sex education so they can make informed choices about their sexual lives.
Unhealthy sexual (mis)Information from pornography
When there is a lack of sex education in young people, some can become informed through pornography. This leads to unhealthy and unrealistic expectations about sex. Information about safe sex and contraceptive use usually are not discussed, which may pave the way for adolescents to never really practice safe sex into adulthood.
Access to contraception and emergency contraception
Many parts of the world still don’t have readily available access to contraception or emergency contraception. Access to contraception is vital for couples to space out pregnancies and plan on expanding their family. Contraception provides a peace of mind for couples so they can enjoy sex without worrying, which is an integral part of sexual health.
Knowing the importance of sexual consent is key to having a healthy outlook on sex and to healthy sexual relationships in general. Due to an increase in sexual assault cases on college campuses, education officials have begun implementing sexual consent seminars.(2) Being educated on consent is helpful in setting boundaries so people can make the most informed choices when it comes to their sexual relationships.
The Guardian, “Sexual health isn’t just about health—it’s about sex, too”