Sexual health is an essential aspect of every individual’s life, not only when they are able to reproduce but right from early on in a person’s development, from adolescencethrough to old age.
In 2010, the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), founded in Rome in 1978, instituted an annual World Sexual Health Day, held on 4 September. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also places great emphasis on this issue and defines sexual health as follows:
“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. 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“.
According to the WHO, sexual health depends mainly on certain factors such as:
- access to reliable information on sex and sexuality,
- knowledge of the risks of unprotected sexual activities,
- access to medical care,
- living in an environment conducive to sexual health.
How do we achieve sexual health?
Sexual health is defined in various ways and includes respect, pleasure, self-esteem and self-determination within your sex life. Good sexual health is crucial for an individual, a couple, a family, and also for society as a whole.
And it is society that plays a crucial role in achieving sexual health. Gender discrimination and violence, whether physical or psychological, are obstacles to overcome on a path that is often uphill. It is essential for each individual to take care of their emotions and to behave responsibly and consciously.
Our community needs to fight many taboos, from school age onwards. Awareness-raising and communication activities in sexual health and prevention should form the basis of sex education. This is something often left to ‘field experience’ or ‘word of mouth’ among peers.
Sexual Health and the pandemic
As in all areas of our society, the global pandemic has also affected people’s sexual lives. According to the Italian Federation of Scientific Sexology (Fiss), the Coronavirus has made relationships between people more difficult. The Italian Society of Andrology also confirms these difficulties with 60% of respondents to a survey saying their sexual activity had decreased. Indeed, the baby boom we expected after the lockdown did not occur. On the contrary, we saw an 8% drop in births.
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