World Sexual Health Day — Celebrate & Spread the Word
World Sexual Health Day — Ways to Participate
World Sexual Health Day takes place on September 4th. Forty-six countries are officially participating, and this year’s international theme is “Comprehensive Sexuality Education For All.” This day marks a worldwide celebration right after this sex educator’s heart!
How can you personally commemorate World Sexual Health Day this year and help promote greater social awareness on sexual health across the globe?
- Understand Sexual Health
One of the roadblocks to raising awareness, funds, resources and community support for sexual health is a fundamental misunderstanding of what sexual health even is. Sexuality is so much more than just our genitals, and sexual health is so much more than preventing infections.
The World Health Organization has a working definition of sexual health that encompasses our emotions, bodies, relationships, identities, pleasure, expression and rights. Here it is: “...a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. 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. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled. “And the WHO’s definition of sexuality clearly expresses this to be between our ears, not between our legs.”
- Spread the Word
With a clearer picture of what sexual health is and why it’s important, it’s time to start telling others. If shame and misinformation about sexuality have so successfully been passed down to us by word of mouth — generation to generation, and person to person — then our updated and vastly more educated ideas about sexuality can be passed down too.
Here are some ideas of ways you can support positive and realistic views on sexual health, celebrated on World Sexual Health Day:
- Use your social media to spread the news about World Sexual Health Day and include some sexual health tips.
- If you’re a teacher, present a movie to your students that has sexual health themes, and afterwards, discuss the issues brought up.
- If you’re a student, hang flyers about World Sexual Health Day around your campus, or plan a special event that provides education in or honors sexual health.
- If you’re a librarian, create a special sexual health section of the library, stocked with popular books on the subject.
- If you’re a parent, World Sexual Health Day is the ideal time for a conversation about sexual health with your children.
- If you’re a medical care provider, evaluate how well your practice offers sexual health guidance. Do you have posters on the subject in your office and up-to-date resources for your patients? Have you and your staff been recently trained on asking sexual health questions as part of routine intake?
- If you are a member of any type of organization — an art hall, theatre group, civic club, business group, etc. — make your September theme be sexual health and plan a related event such as a speaker, newsletter, film, conference, luncheon discussion or blog post.
- Honor Your Own Sexuality
Remember, you are a sexual being also, and your sexual health is important. Why not spend today doing something kind for your sexual health? This could be things like:
- Giving yourself a breast or testicular exam.
- Buying yourself a new sex toy.
- Practicing a sexual self-care meditation.
- Starting a savings fund for a “sex-cation.”
- Playing hooky with your partner and staying in bed all day.
- Writing a sexual gratitude list.
- Spending a few minutes today decluttering your room, putting fresh sheets on your bed, and setting mood light to turn your bedroom into your sexual health sanctuary.
Dr. Jill McDevitt is CalExotics' resident sexologist. She is also a sexuality educator, sexual wellness coach and unapologetic feel-good activist. Her mission is to radically improve the way we think about and treat sexuality, ourselves and each other.