What is Healthy Sexuality?
The aspects of healthy sexuality include understanding your sexuality, feeling comfortable with your sexuality, and accepting your sexuality.
Reasons for a Skewed View of Sexuality
The impact of society on our lives can make it very hard to have a good understanding of healthy sexuality these days. The media shows us images of the “perfect woman” or “perfect man”, movies and TV shows depict irresponsible sex. People are displayed as sex objects and sex is used as a way to assert power and control over women and men. We are bombarded with unhealthy views of sexuality that can seriously harm our view of what is considered healthy in a person’s sexual live.
How to Obtain A Healthy Sexual Life Between You and Your Partner
One of the most important aspects in a relationship is communication. Being able to talk about your feelings, concerns, needs and desires is key to a healthy relationship. It can be difficult sometimes to open up to your partner, especially about very intimate situations together. Be patient and show understanding but encourage the expression of your partner’s thoughts and/or feelings.
Trust is another important aspect that needs to be developed in a relationship. Trust will lead to a feeling of security in the relationship, including in your sex life. To build trust you need to communicate openly with your partner, act responsibly and stick to your commitments.
Take a look at the CERTS Model below. Developed by Wendy Maltz, it depicts the conditions that ought to be met for a person to enjoy healthy and satisfying sex:
CONSENT means you can freely and comfortably choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. You are able to stop the activity at any time during the sexual contact. It also means that you respect when someone else does not want to engage in a particular activity, for any reason.
EQUALITY means your sense of personal power is on an equal level with your partner. Neither of you dominates the other.
RESPECT means you have positive regard for yourself and for your partner. You feel respected by your partner and you respect them.
TRUST means you trust your partner on both a physical and emotional level. You have mutual acceptance of vulnerability and an ability to respond to it with sensitivity.
SAFETY means you feel secure and safe within the sexual setting. You are comfortable with and assertive about where, when and how the sexual activity takes place. You feel safe from the possibility of harm, such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection, and physical injury.
The CERTS Model does not guarantee amazing sex, but it can help you feel more secure in your relationship and increase your level of self-esteem.
Take a look at the Healthy Sex Comparison Chart below to get a better understanding of the difference between what is considered healthy sex and what may be considered abusive or addictive sex.
Healthy Sex Comparison Chart
Sexual Abuse and Addiction
|Sex is controllable energy||Sex is uncontrollable energy|
|Sex is a choice||Sex is an obligation|
|Sex is a natural drive||Sex is addictive|
|Sex is nurturing, healing||Sex is hurtful|
|Sex is an expression of love||Sex is a condition of love or devoid of love|
|Sex is sharing with someone||Sex is “doing to” someone|
|Sex requires communication||Sex is void of communication|
|Sex is private||Sex is secretive|
|Sex is respectful||Sex is exploitative|
|Sex is honest||Sex is deceitful|
|Sex is mutual||Sex benefits one person|
|Sex is intimate||Sex is emotionally distant|
|Sex is responsible||Sex is irresponsible|
|Sex is safe||Sex is unsafe|
|Sex has boundaries||Sex has no limits|
|Sex is empowering||Sex is power over someone|
|Sex enhances who you really are||Sex requires a double life|
|Sex reflects your values||Sex compromises your values|
|Sex enhances self-esteem||Sex feels shameful|