World Sexual Health Day is coming up this week (04 September, 2022) and the theme for this year is right up my alley – Sexual Pleasure!!! In celebration of this fact, I am going to give 2 FREE workshops, so keep a look out at the bottom of this post for the details. First let’s cover some of the basics.
What is Sexual Pleasure?
The World Association for Sexual Health developed the Sexual Pleasure Declaration that was presented at the World Congress in Mexico City in 2019 and ratified by the General Assembly of WAS in September 2021 during the online WAS congress, hosted from Cape Town.
It states: “Sexual pleasure is the physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment derived from shared or solitary erotic experiences, including thoughts, fantasies, dreams, emotions, and feelings.”
To quote directly from the WAS Sexual Pleasure Declaration, on World Sexual Health Day, WAS wants to reaffirm the following:
“Self-determination, consent, safety, privacy, confidence and the ability to communicate and negotiate sexual relations are key enabling factors for pleasure to contribute to sexual health and well-being. Sexual pleasure should be exercised within the context of sexual rights, particularly the rights to equality and non-discrimination, autonomy and bodily integrity, the right to the highest attainable standard of health and freedom of expression. The experiences of human sexual pleasure are diverse and sexual rights ensure that pleasure is a positive experience for all concerned and not obtained by violating other people’s human rights and well-being.”
I believe, along with WAS, that pleasure is a critical part of sexual health and rights, which makes it central to overall health and wellbeing. Promoting sexual health and rights (including pleasure) is essential to attaining sustainable human development goals such as the eradication of poverty and achieving a peaceful world.
What’s the problem?
While we all have the undeniable right to sexual pleasure, sometimes we have trouble attaining it, for various reasons. Sometimes there are barriers to sexual expression ranging from overt coercion to less obvious but equally detrimental cultural entrenchments leading to feelings of guilt, stigma, and shame. Sometimes the barriers are from fears around STD’s, pain during sex, menopause, stress and many more.
The different elements of sexual pleasure are handled by different areas of expertise. There are people who are involved in sexual justice who work to promote sexual rights, and work with legislators etc. Those involved in sexual medicine focus on research and medical issues. And then there are people like me, who focus on sexual wellbeing, encompassing education and counselling etc.
How do you find someone to help you in your journey?
Visit a doctor
If you have a medical issue that is affecting your sexual pleasure, the best place to start is with a doctor who has an interest in sexual medicine. If you don’t think that your regular doctor will be the best fit, and you are based in South Africa, you can check out sites like My Sexual Health where they list medical professionals who have a specific interest and qualification in sexual medicine.
Do Research and Book Appointments:
For Sexual Justice and Sexual Wellness you can take a look at the sites listed under “Resources” here or book a session with a sex therapist or coach
Take advantage of opportunities to attend any workshops or events that are happing near you or online that speak to sexual pleasure. I am hosting free events on 01 and 08 September, 2022 where attendees can ask anything they want to about sex and sexuality. Come along and enjoy the sessions!