Declaration of Sexual Rights

In recognition that sexual rights are essential for the achievement of the highest attainable sexual health, the World Association for Sexual Health:

STATES that sexual rights are grounded in universal human rights that are already recognized in international and regional human rights documents, in national constitutions and laws, human rights standards and principles, and in scientific knowledge related to human sexuality and sexual health.

REAFFIRMS that sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life, encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles, and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, legal, historical, religious, and spiritual factors.

RECOGNIZES that sexuality is a source of pleasure and wellbeing and contributes to overall fulfilment and satisfaction.

REAFFIRMS that sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

REAFFIRMS that sexual health cannot be defined, understood or made operational without a broad understanding of sexuality.

REAFFIRMS that for sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

RECOGNIZES that sexual rights are based on the inherent freedom, dignity, and equality of all human beings and include a commitment to protection from harm.

STATES that equality and non-discrimination are foundational to all human rights protection and promotion and include the prohibition of any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of race, ethnicity, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, including disability, age, nationality, marital and family status, sexual orientation and gender identity, health status, place of residence, economic and social situation.

RECOGNIZES that persons’ sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and bodily diversities require human rights protection.

RECOGNIZES that all types of violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, and stigmatization are violations of human rights, and impact the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.

AFFIRMS that the obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights apply to all sexual rights and freedoms.

AFFIRMS that sexual rights protect all people’s rights to fulfil and express their sexuality and enjoy sexual health, with due regard for the rights of others.

Sexual rights are human rights pertaining to sexuality

  1. The right to equality and non-discrimination
  2. The right to life, liberty, and security of the person
  3. The right to autonomy and bodily integrity
  4. The right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment
  5. The right to be free from all forms of violence and coercion
  6. The right to privacy
  7. The right to the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual health; with the possibility of pleasurable, satisfying, and safe sexual experiences
  8. The right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its application
  9. The right to information
  10. The right to education and the right to comprehensive sexuality education
  11. The right to enter, form, and dissolve marriage and other similar types of relationships based on equality and full and free consent
  12. The right to decide whether to have children, the number and spacing of children, and to have the information and the means to do so
  13. The right to the freedom of thought, opinion, and expression
  14. The right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly
  15. The right to participation in public and political life
  16. The right to access to justice, remedies, and redress