On World Sexual Health Day, It’s Time We Took A Look At The State Of Affairs At Home

sexual health

You’d think that the land of the Kamasutra would be sex-positive, be open to providing platforms for open dialogues to discuss taboos and consistently prioritise sexual health. In reality, India is far from making sexual health and conversations around sex normalised. We have been neglecting comprehensive sex education, sexual health continues to remain ignored and consent is at best discussed in hush whispers, if at all. Most teenagers have minimal to no access to resources for sexual education, despite having access to quality education and facilities. Sex education, in most of the schools, is nothing but a lesson on the infamous chapter of ‘Reproduction’. Knowledge of sex is limited to ‘Always have protected sex’, and societal stigma looms large on choices which suggests abstinence as the only way.


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Sexual health encompasses adequate knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases, timely vaccines, and access to non-judgemental healthcare. In an attempt to put the spotlight on the importance of sexual health, the World Health Organisation celebrates World Sexual Health Day every year on September 4th September to bring forth every individual’s right to sexual well-being.

The consistent stigma around topics of sexual health and education is why we’re still grappling with issues related to sexuality. Access to good quality sexual healthcare is still a privilege which only a certain section of the population enjoys. While reproductive healthcare is given importance, sexual healthcare takes a backseat. If the two topics still confuse you, here’s all that you need to know.

Understanding the aspects of sexual health

If we were to understand the definition of sexual health, the W.H.O. tells us, “Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing related to sexuality; it’s 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.” According to this definition, sexual health includes educational, medical and emotional aspects of well-being.


We’re still far from providing good quality comprehensive sexual education to children. Forget access to it, there was once a time when sex education was banned in multiple states because it was considered to be a byproduct of Western beliefs. Lack of access has caused a dent in our understanding of a lot of concepts related to sexuality and has forced us to rely on misinformation. The perpetuation of this misinformation among young teenagers can prove to be extremely harmful. For instance, watching porn has created multiple misconceived notions surrounding sex, consent and pleasure.


When we speak about the medical aspects of sexual well-being, it’s no secret that we’re still far behind. Whether that is access to sexually positive healthcare, education about STDs or something as basic as non-judgemental doctors. If there’s one thing Indian women bond over, it is going through the ordeal of consulting a judgemental gynaecologist. Instead of providing unbiased medical attention and support, women–married, single or queer–are shamed for being sexually active, having fantasies, and not wanting to get married or having a baby.

Emotional well-being

Sexual health

Emotional well-being is an equally important part of sexual health. According to a survey conducted by Qurex, a sexual healthcare startup, it was revealed that their levels of productivity were lower than 60% when their sexual health was impacted negatively. The existence of sexual health issues such as performance anxiety or even painful sex often leads to one’s mental health being impacted. If these problems persist over a long period of time, which they usually do, due to the stigma associated with seeking help for it—it can directly contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. When your sexual health is doing well, your state of mind is happier and relaxed.

- Beauty Writer


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