The Importance of Sexual Health and Wellness


When you hear about “sexual health and wellness”, the conversation is often about avoiding STIs and unwanted pregnancies. The understanding is that using condoms, getting tested, and preventing gonorrhea is the cornerstone of what is means to be sexually well.

But if you’ve ever felt:

  • Heartbroken over someone you know isn’t good for you
  • Shamed about your sexual desires and fantasies
  • Embarrassed about the shape, size, function, taste, or smell of your genitals
  • Sexually frustrated and unpleased
  • Lonely and skin hungry
  • Uncomfortable asking for what you want in bed
  • Unheard
  • Unworthy
  • Unsafe
  • Disconnected or disgusted by your body
  • Insecure about your sexual identity
  • Degraded for the way you dress, move, or express your sexuality in the world
  • Meh

… then you probably know that being sexually well goes infinitely deeper than if you have or don’t have a bacterial microbe. It’s about if you have or don’t have a fundamental joy in being you.

Sexuality is a vital part of being human. It’s what makes us who we are.

Being sexually well is about growing and thriving to a place where we can realize our full humanity, unapologetically. It’s physical, social, emotional, and mental.

Sexual wellness is paying attention to and honoring what your body needs.

Sexual wellness is knowing you are worthy of love and kindness from others.

Sexual wellness is living and loving according to your values.

Sexual wellness is practicing gratitude for your genitals and the sexual pleasure they provide.

Sexual wellness is asking your partner for what you want.

Equally important to how you treat yourself as a sexual person, sexual wellness is how you show up to others, and the world around you.

People who are living sexually well are not just doing what’s right by them:

  • Loving their bodies
  • Speaking up
  • Feeling comfortable about their sexual desires
  • Having good orgasms and a healthy vibrator collection

They are also:

  • Loving other people’s bodies, and not engaging in body shaming.
  • Listening when other people speak up, and listening with humility when their partners tells them what they want.
  • Helping other people feel comfortable about their sexual desires, by being a sex-positive person and not ridiculing any of the wild and wonderful ways people do their sexuality.
  • Making space for everyone to enjoy sexual pleasure, have good orgasms and a healthy vibrator collection if they so choose, by never slut-shaming how others express their sexuality.

Sexual wellness is not so much about preventing disease as it is about promoting compassion.

Why is this alternative model of sexual health and wellness important?

It all comes down to feeling good.

Whether it’s the physical feeling good of an incredible orgasm, the emotional feeling good of a , or the social feeling good of knowing you are contributing to a world that is more sexually kind and compassionate, sexual wellness is about embracing our truth- we are sexual beings, we want to feel good, and that’s valid.

The Importance of Sexual Health and Wellness by Dr. Jill McDevitt originally appeared on

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