Sexual health is an important part of overall health and well-being. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual health as:
A state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It 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 includes, but is broader than, the prevention of unintended pregnancies and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. It includes the development of positive self-concept and identity (body image, sexual orientation, gender identity) healthy relationships and the prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence.
An upstream approach to sexual health issues includes a focus on hypersexualization and corporate influences on sexual health as well as the links between alcohol and sexual health issues.
Sexuality is a lifespan issue and work to support various aspects of sexual health occurs in other areas of public health. For more information, see Healthy Development and Communicable Disease Prevention and Control.