Humans are sexual beings. In fact, sexuality is a natural part of who we are and is present in every person. It develops in the teen years and continues through our entire lives.

Healthy sexuality encompasses so much more than just having good sex. In particular, other aspects include gender identities and roles, intimacy, pleasure, reproduction, and eroticism. The World Health Organization says:

“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.” (1)

Sexual health also includes positive gender identity and roles

How Healthy Sexuality Contributes to Physical Wellness

While the physical aspect of sexual health is only one piece, it provides many physical benefits when part of an otherwise safe and healthy relationship.

In general, sex can be considered a form of moderate physical activity on par with climbing several flights of stairs. (2) Hopefully, this is not anyone’s intention for having sex, but it is a nice side benefit when it comes to health. In fact, regular sex reduces the risk of heart disease and hypertension and could contribute to longevity. (2)

Orgasms release many hormones that provide both physical and mental health benefits. Also, having an orgasm can help you sleep better, decrease stress and improve mood. (3, 4)

Sexuality and Your Emotional Well-being

Having a solid sense of self that embraces your unique sexuality is critical to wellness. Sexually healthy adults value their body and all its expressions, but at the same time, they can manage their sexual impulses and channel them in appropriate ways. (5)

In addition, sexuality encompasses the ability to be vulnerable, cultivate intimacy and find joy and confidence in who we are. (5) All these expressions of sexuality require strong communication and safe relationships in which to explore this essential aspect of our being.

Sexuality and Your Emotional Well-being

Managing Sexual Relationships

A look at our cultural attitude towards sex reveals many distortions of what sexual health should look like and a lack of respect for how critical this aspect of ourselves truly is. (6) Issues with consent, sexual identity, and the prevalence of abuse and harassment are widespread. Each of us is responsible for educating ourselves and investing in whatever assistance we need to manage our sexuality in a healthy way.

Healthy relationships include sex that is safe and fulfilling for each partner, both physically and emotionally. And a healthy culture supports each individual to honor their sexuality, not exploit or deny it.

Sex for a Lifetime

We never stop being sexual beings. Therefore, investing in our own exploration and education of what sexuality means and how we express it is necessary to honor the whole of who we are.

A healthy sex life contributes to our happiness and well-being. As a result, it should be fun and enjoyable as well as a meaningful expression of one of the great joys of being human.