What does it mean to be a sexually healthy adolescent?The New York State Department of Health's Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group offers this answer:
"A sexually healthy adolescent is able to realize his/her individual potential around critical developmental tasks related to sexuality. These tasks include: accepting his/her body, gender identity and sexual orientation; communicating effectively with family, peers and partners; possessing accurate knowledge of human anatomy and physiology; understanding the risks, responsibilities, outcomes and impacts of sexual actions; possessing the skills needed to take action to reduce his/her risk; knowing how to use and access the health care system and other community institutions to seek information and services as needed; setting appropriate sexual boundaries; acting responsibly according to his/her personal values; and forming and maintaining meaningful, healthy relationships" .
Put another way, a sexually healthy adolescent -- or adult -- could say:
This is what it takes for me to be sexually healthy:
- I am comfortable with my body and my sexuality.
- I can talk effectively with my peers, family, and partners.
- I know my body and how it functions.
- I understand the risks, responsibilities, and consequences of sexual behavior.
- I am able to recognize risks and ways to reduce them.
- I know how to access and use health care services and information.
- I am able to set boundaries when it comes to sex and sexual relationships.
- I act responsibly according to my personal values.
- I am able to form and maintain healthy relationships.
|||New York State Department of Health: Guiding Principles for Sexual Health Education for Young People: A Guide for Community-Based Organizations|