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  Home  > Personal Wellness  > Sexual Health

Sexual Health

Catherine Chilman, in Adolescent Sexuality in a Changing American Society, provides a highly balanced and expansive view of the subject. We think that the components of her definition of sexual health for adolescents, presented below, apply to adults of all ages. We consider them expressions of well-sex" (although we would substitute we/our for they/their, add and others to parents, and include adults).

Adolescent sexual health:

  • Involves "increasing ability to communicate honestly and openly with persons of both sexes with whom they have a close relationship."
  • Includes "acceptance of their own sexual desires as natural but to be acted upon with limited freedom within the constraints of reality considerations, including their own values and goals and those of 'significant others' in their lives."
  • Is characterized by the ability "to form interdependent, rather than dependent or defensively autonomous relationships."
  • Develops increasing freedom from "anxieties over their own self-worth and competencies as feminine or masculine persons; they learn to behave and feel in such a way as to experience relatively minor guilt over their own sexuality and that of others."
  • Involves growth "towards more egalitarian, less dependent relationships with their parents and a sense of their own gender and sex identity, their own set of values that may be, but are not necessarily, different from those of their parents."
  • Involves an understanding "that their sexuality is not a thing apart, but an integral aspect of their total lives . . . thus specific sex behaviors take place within the total context of their life situation and goals."
  • Includes, as they mature, the development of rewarding mate relationships and use of either abstention or contraceptive techniques to achieve planned timing and numbers of children.
  • Does not include the concept that healthy adolescent sexuality involves complete freedom to behave as one wishes so long as contraceptives, including condoms, are used and so long as this behavior is in private with consenting partners, because the "recreational" view of sex "tends to trivialize the depth of the exceptional intimacy and potential involvement of the total self through intercourse."
  • Incorporates in the definition "the development of both heterosexually and homosexually oriented adolescents."



<< Previous Healthy Sexuality | Back to Intimacy & Sex | Next >> Self Awareness and Sex
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