Since 2010 the World Association of Sexual Health has been celebrating the World Sexual Health Day (WSHD). On September 4th, WSHD brings greater awareness of sexual health. It is a day to celebrate sexuality and promote sexual rights. This year the theme is “Sexual pleasure in times of COVID-19” which I believe to be very appropriate.

There has been numerous blogs and webinars on how COVID19 has had an impact on sexual function globally. We have seen how lock down has influenced sexual function across the world, and I have definitely seen an increase in sexual dysfunction during the lock down. But what I want to focus on today is you RIGHT TO SEXUAL PLEASURE

Heading 2: Is sexual pleasure a human right?

Yes, you have the right to experience sexual pleasure. Sexual rights are grounded in universal human rights and part of your basic sexual rights is to have safe and pleasurable sex, free of coercion and discrimination. Everyone is entitled to experience sexual pleasure. It doesn’t matter what your sex, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity is. 

Heading 2: Should sexual pleasure take priority over the other sexual rights?

What happens if someone misinterprets their rights, what if they feel that their right to pleasure takes priority over someone else’s rights. The belief that one has the right to use someone else for sexual pleasure is where things get dangerous. This can result in violence, manifested through rape, sexual coercion, sexual objectification, and prostitution. During the lockdown we have seen an appalling rise in gender based violence, not only in South Africa but globally.  

The one thing that I want to emphasise is that we all have sexual rights, but not at the expense of others. You have the right to experience pleasure but you have the right to say no. Let us take a stand against gender based violence.