Definition of Sexual Health

Measures men and women can take to experience sexuality in ways that support their physical and emotional well-being. A key factor for sexual health is overall health—nutritional eating habits, daily physical exercise, meditation or relaxation, adequate sleep, and adequate time for leisure or recreational activities.

Sexual health further incorporates measures to reduce the risk for health conditions specifically related to sexual activity such as infection with sexually transmitted diseases (stds) and undesired pregnancy (contraception).

Factors

In addition to the physical factors of sexual health are the psychologic, emotional, and social factors. Despite the tendency of health-care providers to focus on physical concerns such as STDs because of the health issues these infections entail, the emotional intimacy of sexual relationships is an essential component of sexual health.

It is sometimes difficult to determine when a relationship is consenting and when it is abusive. Sexual health requires mutual appreciation for each partner’s needs, physical and emotional.

Young people especially may face pressure to enter into sexual relationships yet are uncertain that they are ready or willing to do so. The consequences may be far reaching. One million teens become pregnant in the United States each year. STDs such as genital herpes, hepatitis b, and hepatitis C are treatable but not curable.

Though treatment regimens now greatly extend life and improve quality of life, hiv/aids remains ultimately fatal. Other STDs may cause scarring and other damage that results in permanent infertility.

See also BREAST HEALTHBREAST SELF-EXAMINATION (BSE)PROSTATE HEALTH;

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