Sexual intimacy and fulfillment are a natural part of the human experience. Some people believe sexual activities should be reserved for monogamous, married couples. Others may be open to having one or more partners in or outside of marriage. Regardless of beliefs, it’s important for all partners to be open and honest, explicitly consensual, age appropriate, and feel comfortable telling their partners what they need and want from a sexual relationship (i.e. what feels good, or what doesn’t). Exploration should be encouraged, but it’s also important to respect boundaries of all partners. No means no.
Human sexuality encompasses a range of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual attractions. When people are primarily attracted to the “opposite sex”, they are called heterosexuals. When people are primarily attracted to the same sex, they are called homosexuals. When people are attracted to both men and women to some degree they are often called bisexuals. When people have an attraction to multiple gender expressions beyond “male” and “female”, they are called pansexuals. And when people’s sexual attractions are based primarily on emotional, rather than physical, connections, they are called demisexuals.
To avoid pregnancy and/or STD’s, condoms or other forms of protection should be used each and every time. Monogamy between partners without STD’s is the most effective way to prevent them without a condom. In some cases, such as with HIV/AIDS and HPV, vaccines or prevention-based drugs are available. If one partner has not been monogamous, it’s their responsibility to inform the other partner before having sex.
Sex is a natural part of life and is not shameful in any way. Healthy sexual activities are those where partners feel satisfied, and mutual agreements are honored. In relationships, sexual activities may also include greater degrees of intimacy and affection, such as cuddling, kissing, touching and hand holding.
Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness
Indicators of thriving:
- Sexual needs and desires are being met
- Mutual agreements, consent and boundaries are being honored
- Continued deepening of bonds and relationship naturally occur
- Feeling of being sexually satisfied
Indicators of warning
- Over reliance on sexual fantasies or pornography
- Lack of respect for boundaries
- Lying or “cheating” outside of mutual agreements
- Feeling sexually unsatisfied
- Decrease in libido (sex drive)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Relationship strains
For many people, talking about their sexual needs can be scary. However, it’s important to ask yourself: Am I feeling sexually satisfied? Are my needs being met? Am I meeting the needs and desires of my partner?
- Explore sexual techniques on your own or with a partner, such as tips for men or women
- Learn more about sex and your own body
When warning signs are present, it may be important to seek outside help.
If you have been a victim of rape or unwanted sexual assault:
- Dial 911; or
- Go the nearest hospital emergency room