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Exploring Sexuality: Sexuality Definition by World Health Organization

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When I start reflecting on sexuality the first thing popping up and crossing my mind is the Matrix blonde dressed in red. But your associations may certainly differ. They may feature a well-muscled black man with glossy skin, or a young girl with Bambi eyes. Still there are not so many people who associate this word with something more than just external attributes like behavior, attire and appearance.

Exploring the way sexuality is developed in ideas and definitions laid down by World Health Organization has turned out to be a surprising and pleasant activity. Indeed, the meaning of the concept as represented by WHO goes far beyond the boundaries of seduction and reproduction.

The history of WHO vision of sexuality

It was only at the end of the XX century that they became interested in the said notion. First definitions of sexuality were given in the report Education and Treatment in Human Sexuality: the Training of Health Professionals  (Geneva, 1975). Besides other aspects it pointed out the lack of sexologists and training experts.

Other reports of later years, like Sexuality and Family Planning; Report of a Consultation and Research Findings (Copenhagen, 1983) and Concept of Sexual Health: Report on a Working Group (Copenhagen, 1987) were narrow-focused and were not supposed to enter into the public domain.

25 years after the first definition had been given there came a thesis made open to the general public—the Promotion of Sexual Health report (Guatemala, 2000). The essential and topical character of sexual manifestations for human beings was now underlain by pandemic spread of immunodeficiency viruses. The report that came as a result of WHO collaboration with WAS and PAHO declared the emergence of HIV/AIDS to have facilitated working out of comprehensive approach to health in consideration of human sexual needs.

In 2006 in Geneva they published a Defining Sexual Health report that contains actual version of sexuality definition. Additionally, it describes the notions of gender, sexual health and sexual rights. WHO so far considers definition of these categories to be provisional and suggests using them till the moment a more adequate definition is formulated.

In order to distinguish between the notions of sexuality, sex, eroticism, sensual practice and sensual activity the report expounds thirteen different terms related to the sphere of sex in general. The terms that have actually determined my blonde in red to be an illustration of eroticism but not sexuality.

So probably the notion that’s been so painstakingly studied shall soon become a common topic for discussion in any society.

Why does WHO explore sexuality?

Exploring sexuality was initiated by World Health Organization for the purpose of solving a number of problems, namely:

  • resolution of reproductive issue;
  • promotion of safe sex and prevention concept;
  • fostering of sexual health;
  • introduction of sexual rights;
  • facilitation of sexual education.

Sexual rights were studied and analyzed in the following reports: Developing Sexual Health Programmes  and Sexual Health, Human Rights and The Law.

The Montreal Declaration “Sexual Health for the Millennium” that resulted from the 17th World Congress on Sexology announced sexual health to be the primary key to human wellness, well-being and development. The congress participants represented they believed sexual health to eradicate poverty and foster global peace.

One may at first glance think this representation to be excessively dramatic. But when recalling our personal experience, we should say we agree over it.

Defining Sexual Health, 2002, Geneva.

The notions of sexuality and sexual health are complementary; thus we shall give consideration to both:

Sexuality is viewed as a basic aspect of being human that embraces the notions of sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, sensual pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality can be experienced and expressed in thoughts, dreams and desires, fantasies, beliefs, values and attitudes, acts, practices, roles and relationships. Sexuality is a complex set of the above-listed dimensions though not all of them are always expressed or experienced. Sexuality is subjected to the impact of physical, psychological, social, financial, political, ethnical and cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors and their interaction.

As to sexual rights, they encompass human rights that have already been recognized in domestic laws, international documents on human rights and other social and intergovernmental statements.

They include the right of everyone, without coercion, discrimination and violence, to:

  • the highest available standard of sexual health that implies access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services;
  • seek, obtain and share information related to sexuality;
  • sexual education;
  • have their bodily integrity respected;
  • select a sexual partner;
  • decide on their sexual activity mode;
  • consent-based sexual relations;
  • consensual marriage;
  • decide on having children; and
  • seek to having a safe and satisfying sexual life.

Comprehensive exercise of human sexual rights requires that all persons show respect to the rights of others.

From official to personal understanding of sexuality

A detailed calibration of sexuality definition has not made me push the blonde in red out of my head. I would say that it’s made her even more mysterious and luring, for she has now acquired sexual fantasies, aspiration, attitudes, priorities and ideas that I know nothing about. I wonder what she fantasizes about. Her convictions, actions, ideas also manifest her sexuality, just like her body and dress do, and this has made her even more seductive. The stereotype has not vanished, but the image is no longer plain. She has become more real and fleshed out, teasing me from the screen and tipping me the wink.

And now that I know what sexuality is in terms of WHO, I proceed by taking interest in the issues like “What is my sexuality?” and “What is the sexuality of my partner?”

The process of exploring personal sexuality as an exciting journey. And it becomes even more pleasant when I know I can take it with a company of like-minded people in all of the Fantasy app space. So I set off to make some new fascinating discoveries in the multi-dimensional realm of sexuality.

While you can about other ways of exploring sexuality in the article Public Talks About Sex: A Step To Exploring Sexuality.

 

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