Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Topic 20: Toward a Personal Definition of Sexual Health.

This is a difficult assignment. Too often clients want me to tell them what behaviors are “healthy” as if a universal definition exists. The key is to remember the concept of sexual health. I highlight the definition of sexual health that serves as the theoretical foundation of this workbook. Sexual Health is

“. . . state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled” (WHO, 2002).

The corresponding sexual health model highlights the necessary components of defining healthy sexual behaviors.

1. Talking About Sex Who can I talk about sexuality with in my life. This will be addressed in the support network piece.

2. Culture and Sexual Identity

What are my value I learned about sexuality from my culture, be in a religious tradition, racial culture, or sexual minority culture?

To what degree have these values shaped my current behavior. Do I agree with them? How do I differ?

When they values are in conflict, how do I resolve this conflict.

Summarize 5 primary values that shape your behavior. Examples might include monogamy, trust, full disclosure, openness, safety, respect.

3. Sexual Anatomy and Functioning

What questions do I have about sexual anatomy and functioning? Who is my primary physician? Do I have a relationship with my medical provider where I can talk with him/her regarding my sexual behaviors and questions regarding health issues.

4. Sexual Health Care and Safer Sex

If I engage in unsafe sexual behaviors, either for HIV, STD or pregnancy risk, the reasons for such behaviors are addressed in stage 1 of treatment. Think about your safer sex behaviors and risky behaviors.

Identify what your safer risk boundaries are.

Only safer sex?

Only condom use for anal and vaginal sex?

Why do you have these boundaries?

5. Challenges and Barriers to Sexual Health

These topics are identified in Stage 2 of the workbook. Review the various topics and highlight the important 5-15 issues related to your life. Make sure these are addressed in the Topic XX where thoughts, feelings and high risk behaviors are identified with plans to prevent the acting out cycle. . Did you think of anything that should be added?

6. Body Image

Where are you at with your self-image of your body? Review the topic on Body Image in stage two (Not yet completed).

7. Masturbation and Fantasy

Review the section on masturbation and fantasy (NOT YET FINISHED). Complete the following questions

What are your values toward masturbation and fantasy?

What are appropriate masturbation behaviors? (Where, when how often?)

What are appropriate fantasies?

What are your rules toward disclosure of masturbation with your partner?

What are your rules toward disclosure of fantasies with your partner?

Have you disclosed these with your partner and does he/she agree with these values? If there is disagreement, what is your plan to address the disagreement?

8. Positive Sexuality

Sexuality is a major focus of energy in your life. How do you express your sexuality is positive ways. The following questions reflect that your sexual energy is healthy and when channeled in healthy ways can bring new life, energy and strengthen relationships both with your partner and with others in your life. The following questions are designed to be integrative. You should have a sense of harmony in your definition within these responses.

How do you discover new ways of sexual expression?

How do you express sensuality?

Who is an appropriate partner? (Age, sex, relationship, etc.)

With who is it appropriate to engage in sexual behavior?

What types of sexual contact are appropriate and what types should be avoided?

When is it appropriate to be sexually active?

Where is it appropriate to be sexually active?

What are healthy reasons to engage in sexual behavior?

What are unhealthy reasons to engage in sexual behavior?

What is a healthy level of pornography use?

What are the rules regarding disclosure of pornography use?

What is the preferred level of physical touch?

What kind of touch is acceptable?

9. Intimacy and Relationships.

Review the topic on intimacy.

What are the three most important types of intimacy?

How do you get these needs met?

How satisfied are you?

What are your plans to address your level of satisfaction?

10. Spirituality

Review the section on spirituality. Also review the topic on “Creating your future, Topic 18.”

Is anything listed in the previous 10 areas in conflict with your spiritual values? If so, reexamine and resolve this conflict before you finish this plan.

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