Sexuality is an integral part of being human. Love,
affection, and sexual intimacy contribute to healthy relationships and
individual well-being. But along with the positive aspects of our human
sexuality, there also are illnesses, mixed emotions and unintended consequences
that can affect our sexual health. An open discussion of sexuality issues is
important to promoting sexual health and responsibility. More attention has been
placed on sexual health since the World Health Organization (WHO) issued the
following statement more than 25 years ago. WHO declared: "There exist
fundamental rights for the individual, including …freedom from organic
disorders, diseases and deficiencies that interfere with sexual and reproductive
However, challenges to achieving this vision remain.
In many cases, the underlying causes of sexual disorders continue to be poorly
understood, and, often, few treatment options are available. The unwillingness
of individuals to discuss their sexual problems may be the greatest barrier to
achieving the WHO’s vision of sexual health and to promoting responsible sexual
behavior. It is important to address your sexual health issues with your health
care provider and partner.
What is meant by "sexual health"?
Sexual health refers to the many factors that impact
sexual function and reproduction. These include a variety of physical, mental,
and emotional factors. Disorders that affect any of these factors can impact a
person’s physical and emotional health, as well as his or her relationships and
What are the issues that affect sexual health?
Common sexual health disorders include:
- Reproductive system disorders, including cancer
- Infertility problems
- Gynecologic problems, including endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory
disease, and premenstrual syndrome
- Urinary system problems, including incontinence and urinary tract
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction (ED), painful
intercourse, and loss of sexual desire
Other sexual health issues include:
- Concerns regarding "normal" or acceptable sexual behavior and lifestyles
- Birth control
- Teen sex
© Copyright 1995-2011 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.
Can't find the health information you’re looking for?
This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 2/15/2011...#9116