Sexual Health Definitions

The following is an excerpt by Dr. Amanda Appel from our podcast episode “Duchenne and Desire” with guests Carolyn Kelley, Physical Therapist and Amanda Appel, MD, MPH. Click here for the full podcast.

Sexual Health Definitions

Let’s start with some definitions… I think of back in biology class and about XX and XY chromosomes and being genetically a male or female, that’s how we used the term sex there.

But people also use it to talk about sexual activity. That can look like a lot of different things, and we can get a little more into that later. Sexuality is more for me, how you express or experience your sexual identity. And so that’s your feelings, your thoughts, your attractions, your gender identity, or sexual orientation. It’s a lot of different things.

And it’s influenced by a lot of different things. So it can be influenced by biology, psychology, social status, economics, club culture, list goes on and on, religion, spirituality. And so it’s really just the way that you experience these things.

When we’re talking about sexual health and reproductive health, I like to really think about it more as a state of well-being. A lot of people talk about it in terms of the “bad things” that can happen – STIs, and things like that – when they define it, they say it’s a state of physical, emotional, mental, social well-being in relation to sexuality.