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Universal sexual human rights

Source: Conference Report of the Fourteenth World Congress of Sexology

23-27 August 1999, Hong Kong

At the final plenary session, Professor Eli Coleman, Chairman of WAS announced the eleven basic sexual rights that they wished us to endorse and enact in our work as clinicians, educators and researchers. They are listed below and were endorsed by the conference to much applause:

(1) The right to sexual freedom. Sexual freedom encompasses the possibility for individuals to express their full sexual potential. However, this excludes all forms of sexual coercion, exploitation and abuse at any time and situations in life.

(2) The right to sexual autonomy, sexual integrity, and safety of the sexual body. This right involves the ability to make autonomous decisions about one’’s sexual life within a context of ones own personal and social ethics. It also encompasses control and enjoyment of our own bodies free from torture, mutilation and violence of any sort.

(3) The right to sexual privacy. This involves the right for individual decisions and behaviours about intimacy as long as they do not intrude on the sexual rights of others.

(4) The right to sexual equity. This refers to freedom from all forms of discrimination regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, social class, religion, or physical and emotional disability.

(5) The right to sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure, including autoeroticism, is a course of physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing.

(6) The right to emotional sexual expression. Sexual expression is more than erotic pleasure or sexual acts. Individuals have a right to express their sexuality through communication, touch, emotional expression and love.

(7) The right to sexually associate freely. This means the possibility to marry or not, to divorce, and to establish other types of responsible sexual associations.

(8) The right to make free and responsible reproductive choices. This encompasses the right to decide whether or not to have children, the number and spacing of children, and the right to full access to the means of fertility regulation.

(9) The right to sexual information based upon scientific inquiry. This right implies that sexual information should be generated through the process of unencumbered and yet scientifically ethical inquiry, and disseminated in appropriate ways at all societal levels.

(10) The right to comprehensive sexuality education. This is a lifelong process from birth throughout the life cycle and should involve all social institutions.

(11) The right to sexual health care. Sexual health care should be available for prevention and treatment of all sexual concerns, problems and disorders.

 Sexual Rights are Fundamental and Universal Human Rights.

P. D'Ardenne. In: Sexual and Marital Therapy, Vol. 14, o. 4, 1999


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