Positive sexuality and its impact on overall well-being

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2013 Feb;56(2):208-14. doi: 10.1007/s00103-012-1607-z.


Historically, the issue of sexual health has been largely considered with respect to the associated negative health outcomes. The dangers of sexual activity such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS, unintended pregnancy, sexual coercion, and sexual violence have dominated the attention of those working in the field. Over the last 20 years, and particularly in the last decade, an increasing number of people from a variety disciplines that address issues of sexual health have developed a new discourse concerning the positive aspects of sexuality. This review of the literature explores this emerging discourse. The results indicate that sexual health, physical health, mental health, and overall well-being are all positively associated with sexual satisfaction, sexual self-esteem, and sexual pleasure. The beneficial effects of sexual satisfaction should be integrated into programs that seek to improve these diverse health outcomes through service delivery, prevention, and sexuality education.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Impact Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Pleasure*
  • Self Concept
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexuality / psychology*
  • Young Adult