What is sexual and reproductive health?
Sexual and reproductive health is a right
It is the capacity of all women to enjoy a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life.
It is the freedom to decide whether, when and with whom to engage in sexual activity and how often, in a manner that is free from coercion and violence.
It is the freedom to decide whether, when and with whom to have children.
It is the right to receive sexual education at home and at school, and to have access to information so as to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, thereby enabling them to take control over their own lives and bodies.
It is the right to have access to an appropriate level of healthcare which guarantees the rights of girls, boys, adolescents and women to intimacy, privacy and confidentiality.
To be able to choose we need to know: sexual education
Sexual education is instrumental in allowing women and girls to have access to full sexual and reproductive health rights and thus to be able to construct a life project based on free choice. Access to information, including information relating to sexual education, is a basic human right. More than 200 million women and girls who do not wish to become pregnant or who wish to delay their next pregnancy, do not use any form of contraception.
Sexual education helps prevent unintended pregnancies, abortions, as well as sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/Aids. It is also important in that it teaches people what to do to prevent and deal with cases of violence and abuse. Furthermore, it empowers women so that they can take autonomous decisions regarding their sexuality based on reliable information.
Safe sexual relationships that are free of coercion
As we have said earlier, sexual health also includes the right to enjoy a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life, the right to decide to have sexual relationships or not, and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
Sexual violence refers to any sexual act or acts that are directed against a person’s sexuality using coercion by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, including rape, abuse and sexual harassment.
Freedom and safety are essential to healthy sexuality. Freedom means the absence of any form of coercion in addition to safety and the possibility of having access to information about the methods available to avoid unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.