20 Apr 2022


Sexual Health: Misrepresented and Needs Communal Support

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Academic level: University

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Based on a report by the World Health Organization, sexual health can be understood as, a condition of social, physical and mental welfare concerning sexuality. Sexual health is thus both the lay expression and a technical concept defined within the international and national legal and public document (Edwards & Coleman, 2004). According to the social scientists, sexual health is related to the state of emotional and physical wellbeing when a person enjoys complete freedom from various related illnesses, coercion, shame and even dysfunction in addition to the capability to enjoy and act on the sexual feelings. According to Cochran (2001), despite the fact that the policy makers treat sexuality as one of the public health issues throughout the 1800s, few scholars adopted the concept of sexual health before the mid-1990s. Around the 1960s, certain efficient new contraceptives, social acceptance of the non-marital in addition to increased secularization of sexuality greatly triggered a sharper distinction (Meyer, 2003). Most leading sexologists often employ the use of the biomedical models with the aim of legitimizing sex research and therapy which further played a significant role in constructing sexuality as one of the key health issues. According to Edwards & Coleman, (2004), in the recent years, the increased popularity of the concept of sexual health particularly among the Latin American, North American, European and even Australian clearly reflect significant efforts to circumvent the rapidly increasing level of opposition specifically. The essay will critically evaluate sexual health’s issues taking into consideration sexuality and sexual relationship styles and then address how the dominant heteronormative psychological and medical models impact the sexual health of non-heterosexual persons, as well as those who do not fit the traditional gender binary model.

In the year 1975, WHO defined sexual health focusing on social aspect rather than on biomedical. It entailed individual’s right to sexual information and pleasure, capacity to control sexual behavior and the freedom from various organic deficiencies, disorders and even diseases that might interfere with both reproduction and sexual functions (Ryan et al., 2009). In 2002, reacting to the mounting concerns related to social diversity also critiques from women health and various development NGOs, WHO developed a revised definition of the concept of sexual health as a state of social, physical, mental and even emotional welfare as connected to sexuality. Based on this, it can be argued that the concept of sexual health demand a more optimistic and highly reverential strategy in order to clearly understand the elements of sexuality and sexual relationships in addition to safe sexual experiences and discrimination (Balsam et al., 2005). WHO went further to declare that attainment of sexual health would greatly depend on enhancing the sexual right of every individual and at the same time protect and respect it.

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According to Heath & White, (2008), throughout the 20th century, the moral codes implied that majority of the existing studies in sexual health significantly focused on the married coupled who had attained the age of reproduction or even the heterosexual adolescents who are often assumed to have a problematic sexuality. It was further meant to manage and treat the white middle class as the paragons of health and normalcy while at the same time frame the economically disadvantaged individuals and those members of the ethnic and racial minorities (Ryan et al., 2009). Research has further propelled increased research on various factors including reproduction, rape, power in addition to gendered expectation and men’s sexual health studies proliferating throughout the 1990s. Further, it was established that GLBTQ activism has greatly encouraged research and studies on the aspect of gay men’s health with the greater focus on AIDS, sexuality-related hate crimes in addition to lesbians’ use of health services (Balsam et al., 2005). The right to health has widely been considered as universal as result of massive political mobilization in the community. However, healthcare as a fundamental right in addition to the function of the government is extensive and an ideal aspect. According to World Health Organization (2006), the real situation on the ground is that most states are strongly crossed by the frames of exclusion and massive violation of fundamental human right particularly for the minority social groups including the transgender, lesbians, bisexuals and even gays. In reflecting on the new form of sexuality expression, homosexuality is considered as a different condition where individuals seek emotional, sexual and even erotic satisfaction with another person of same sex. According to Heath & White, (2008), the concept of homosexual emerged in the year 1868 and used in the year 1930, but heteronormative behaviors greatly overlap the homosexual expression forms. In reaction to such a situation, transgender, lesbians, bisexuals and even gays are consolidated with an aim to denounce the violation of human rights associated with the homosexual population. Further, it was aimed at claiming equal rights particularly to the access to health services and free from discrimination (Balsam et al., 2005). Research has further shown that these groups are highly susceptible to various health issues among them including mental disorders, unprotected sex, AIDS, violent behavior in addition to sexually transmitted disease.

According to Heath & White, (2008), the increased level of social stigmatization on the sexual minorities has significantly encouraged increased scientific studies revolving around the concept of homosexuality in addition to its relationship with health and diseases. In response to massive social movement by transgender, lesbians, bisexuals and even gays, several countries such as Brazil have seen the need to take into consideration the unique requirements of these individuals (Ryan et al., 2009). As a result of this, there has been the formation of the public health policy, for instance, Brazil without Homophobia Program of the year 2004 in addition to the preliminary version of the National Comprehensive LGBT Health Plan in the year 2010. Irrespective of significant advances that have been made concerning this group there has been issues related to accessing health system due to discriminatory and prejudicial behavior by most of the healthcare practitioners (World Health Organization, 2006). 

Heteronormativity is an assumption that the heterosexual is a standard sexual orientation and further, the rest of the adjustments tend to deviate from this norm, normalize cultural aspect, behaviors, and values related to and reinforce the presumed heterosexuality (Ryan et al., 2009). Further, heteronormativity also assumed that there is an imaginary gender binary through identifying the two genders only, which in this case is males and females (Bockting et al., 2005). Members belonging to this group often display specific psychosocial traits related to this anatomical feature and at the same time undertake separate gender-based function in life. In most instances, the group greatly enjoys higher heterosexual privileges compared to the gay, bisexual and straight (Bockting et al., 2005). Studies have established that heteronormativity often serves to carry on an imprecise male-female gender binary specifically and at the same time marginalizes those who exist outside the binary, intersex, and those rejecting conventional or even patriarchal masculinity role and prospect. 

Based on the heteronormative perspective, one of the most popular courses of life is to have a spouse of the opposite sex in early old age, to get married and get children. Further, it assumes that transgender, lesbians, bisexuals and even gays often aspires to take part in the cultures of the straight population (Ryan et al., 2009). As a result of the heteronormativity, transgender, lesbians, bisexuals and even gays are marginalized, and often they are considered to be inferior, abnormal or even confused. According to Formby (2011), heteronormativity tends to see the concept of heterosexuality as one of the critical standard sexual orientation and at the same time identify various sexual courses as the departure from what is often believed to be normal, instead of distinguishing and verifying all orientations as natural lexis of individual sexuality. Those people who are supposed to have adhered to the heteronormative standards in most occasions are denied their rights and benefits that the other groups of heterosexual relationship receive (Balsam et al., 2005). In an event an individual’s sexuality or even gender fails to conform to the established dominant societal ideals, then it might happen that the person will become “other” making them appear different and highly unfamiliar and this might lead to the notions if homophobia and even transphobia. Failure to adhere to the heteronormative standards will make an individual denied most rights and benefits received by the heterosexual people (Bale, 2011).

Research has shown that transgender, lesbians, bisexuals and gays are considered to be lesser beings than the heterosexual persons in addition to being dangerous and flawed. Further, such an idea often results in homophobia, prejudice, and even transphobia. In addition to this, it might have a direct consequence on an individual emotional and mental wellbeing of these groups (Wilson & Yoshikawa, 2007). There is also the lack of acceptance from the wider society members, friends, and even friends which further contributes to higher levels of anxiety and depression (Richards & Barker, 2015). The presence of the internalized homophobia has further been argued to be the main aggravation for the LGBT individuals to stop looking healthcare services. Fear and shame of reprisal after disclosing their sexual identity and inclination is associated with numerous challenges among the bisexual and gay men (Balsam et al., 2005).

In the year 2002, the department concerned with cases of HIV and AIDS in addition to sexual health carried out research on the clinical psychologists working in one of the sexual health settings. They established that clinical psychologists often operate in ranges of setting such as clinics for psychosexual issues, HIV Inpatients, and Outpatients and even medicine clinics (GUM) (Ryan et al., 2009). The asserted that they always use various techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), counseling, health behavior, and solution focused therapy in addition to the psychodynamic approaches to treatment were mentioned (Giami, 2002). It is clear that clinical psychology primary purpose is expressly to address both the psychological and physical sexual health issues with to improve the patient’s psychological comfort whereas health psychology focuses on promoting transformation in the manner at which individuals’ reason and behavior concerning their health to enhance good health and avert illness.

In conclusion, the essay has critically focused on the main issues related to sexual health in light of various sexualities and sexual relationship styles. In the past, reproductive and sexual health was both considered as a single issue with much emphasis on the aspect of reproduction. In the past, reproductive and sexual healths were both considered as a single issue with much focus on the aspect of reproduction. The concept of sexual health demands a more productive and highly reverent strategy to ensure that each patient access quality healthcare they deserve irrespective of the sexual orientation. In understanding the elements of sexuality and sexual relationships, the paper has covered ranges of sexual issues, safe sexual experiences, and discrimination. It has also been shown that transgender, lesbians, bisexuals and gays are considered to be lesser being when compared to the heterosexual individual, and further, they are often considered as being dangerous and flawed. From the essay, it is evident that most states are strongly crossed by the notions of exclusions and massive violation of the fundamental human rights targeted to the minority social groups including the transgender, lesbians, bisexuals and even gays. Heteronormativity has been shown to view the concept of heterosexuality as one of the critical standard sexual orientation. 


Bale, C. (2011). Raunch or romance? Framing and interpreting the relationship between sexualized culture and young people's sexual health. Sex Education , 11 (3), 303- 313.

Balsam, K. F., Beauchaine, T. P., Mickey, R. M., & Rothblum, E. D. (2005). Mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual siblings: effects of gender, sexual orientation, and family. Journal of abnormal psychology , 114 (3), 471.

Bockting, W. O., Robinson, B. E., Forberg, J., & Scheltema, K. (2005). Evaluation of asexual health approach to reducing HIV/STD risk in the transgender community. AIDS care , 17 (3), 289-303.

Cochran, S. D. (2001). Emerging issues in research on lesbians' and gay men's mental health: Does sexual orientation really matter?. American psychologist , 56 (11), 931.

Edwards, W. M., & Coleman, E. (2004). Defining sexual health: a descriptive overview. Archives of sexual Behavior , 33 (3), 189-195.

Formby, E. (2011). Sex and relationships education, sexual health, and lesbian, gay and bisexual sexual cultures: Views from young people. Sex education , 11 (3), 255- 266.

Giami, A. (2002). Sexual health: the emergence, development, and diversity of a concept. Annual review of sex research , 13 (1), 1-35.

Heath, H., & White, I. (2008). The challenge of sexuality in health care . John Wiley & Sons.

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological bulletin , 129 (5), 674.

Richards, C., & Barker, M. J. (2015). Handbook of the Psychology of Sexuality and Gender.

Ryan, C., Huebner, D., Diaz, R. M., & Sanchez, J. (2009). Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults. Pediatrics , 123 (1), 346-352.

Wilson, P. A., & Yoshikawa, H. (2007). Improving access to health care among African- American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Latino lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations. In The health of sexual minorities (pp. 607-637). Springer US.

World Health Organization. (2006). Defining sexual health: report of a technical consultation on sexual health, 28-31 January 2002, Geneva . World Health Organization.

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