World Sexual Health Day

On World Sexual Health Day, WHO celebrates every person’s right to sexual well-being. The theme of World Sexual Health Day this year is ‘Consent!’, recognizing the importance of consent and mutual respect when it comes to sexual encounters. People should have complete and accurate information so they can make informed choices when it comes to their sexual and reproductive health. Read more about WHO’s work to promote sexual well-being this World Sexual Health Day.

Join us on World Sexual Health Day 

 SOCIAL MEDIA LIVE on sexual health 

4 September 2023 @ 14.00hrs. Broadcast across our major social channels – Facebook Twitter LinkedIn


  • Lianne Gonsalves, WHO Scientist for Sexual Health,

  • Leeza Mangaldas, Sexuality Educator

  • Dr Anand Patel, GP, Specialist in men’s health and sexual function. Dr Patel was an expert on the E4 series of Embarrassing Bodies, a British BAFTA Award-winning medical reality TV programme.

 WEBINAR: Let’s talk about sex… and maternal health 

4 September 2023 @ 15.00hrs – Register here

Learn more about the effect of pregnancy on sexual health, particularly what healthcare providers should know.

There has been poor attention to the prevalence and management of sexual health and gynaecological health issues during and after pregnancy. This webinar will address what we know about the impact of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum on sexual and gynaecological function, and how this affects counselling and service delivery.
Interpretation: French and Spanish


From the absence of disease to well-being: the continuum of sexual health

Sexual health is relevant throughout a person’s life, through to adolescence and into older age – not only during their reproductive years. 

Our sexual health is affected by the quality, safety, and respect of our relationships: with oneself and other individuals, with family and friends, and the society in which we live, including the gender norms that shape our experiences. It is also dependent
on fundamental human rights.

The World Health Organization (WHO) working definition of sexual health emphasises a
positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, one that cannot be separated from sexual well-being:

“Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related 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.” 

What is WHO doing to promote sexual health and well-being?

Enabling all people to achieve sexual health and well-being requires tailoring normative guidance and national programming to meet their specific needs and lived experience: welcoming and inclusive of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities
and gender expressions, sexual characteristics, people living with HIV, and with disability.

Activities led by WHO and the United Nations Special Research Programme HRP include

    HRP at 50 logo

  • education, counselling and care related to sexuality, sexual identity, and sexual relationships (including comprehensive sexuality education)
  • disability.

  • addressing sexual function and psychosexual counselling
  • promoting positive sexual and psychosocial development
  • addressing issues around intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence
  • prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV
  • promotion of self-care interventions for health and well-being
  • prevention and management of cervical and other cancers of the reproductive system.


A central aspect of being human 

Good sexual health is fundamental to the overall health and well-being of individuals, couples and families, and to the social and economic development of communities and countries. 

While sexual health and rights and reproductive health and rights are closely linked, crucial aspects of sexual health can be overlooked when grouped under the domain of reproductive health. WHO is committed to identifying and promoting sexual health itself, so that everyone, everywhere is able to fulfil their human rights related to their sexuality and sexual well-being. 

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