By Susan Orcutt, Family Nurse Practitioner
On September 4th, the World Association for Sexual Health marked its annual World Sexual Health Day. When we talk about sexual health, we often focus on preventing unintended pregnancy and protecting against sexually transmitted infections. While these are important issues, they are only a portion of sexual health.
The complete picture of sexual health includes not only physical health, but also mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. The World Health Organization goes further, to say 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.”
Sexual health is more than condoms and birth control. It is about consent, mutually respectful relationships and self-empowerment. Take some time to check in with yourself and your partner about these topics. And find a health care provider who creates a safe and comfortable space for you to ask questions and get accurate information.