Skip to Main Content
shdgNHS Dumfries
Sexual Health D&G
buttons home under 20s adults parents services


Adults » Sexual Health » What is sexual health

What is sexual health?

What is sexual health?

Sexual Health is about all of the bits of health and wellbeing that are linked with sexual thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical relationships and how they affect people.
Often Sexual Health is only thought of in negative terms such as sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancy and abusive relationships. Sexual Health is much more than just these aspects. When thinking about sexual health we should think about Positive Sexual Health. Being healthy is about feeling good physically, mentally and emotionally; being sexually healthy is very similar.
To be sexually healthy means

  • that we take responsibility to protect ourselves and our partners so that we can avoid infections, illnesses and unintended pregnancy
  • we have the confidence and skills to make choices that are right for us, which enable us to develop positive relationships and make sexual decisions that are safe and appropriate for us
  • we are able to talk about our feelings emotions and sexual desires
  • we respect ourselves and others and are not bullied or coerced into doing anything that we don’t want to do.  

Sexual relationships should be safe, fulfilling and as mutually satisfying as it is possible for them to be.
To enable us to have positive (healthy) sexuality we first need to have a positive sexual attitude. Positive sexuality is an important factor in one's mental and physical
health. Developing positive sexual attitudes can take time. The elements of a positive
sexual attitude are:

  • Respect - Respect yourself and others at all times.
  • Safety - Protect yourself and your partner(s) from disease, unwanted pregnancy and negative emotional effects of sexual behaviour.
  • Knowledge - Learn about the human body and mind, sexuality, health, reproduction and laws that affect sexuality.
  • Communication - Become comfortable talking about sexuality with other people.  Become able to have mature discussions with your family, friends and especially your partner(s).