Sexuality Is ...

Sex is only part of who we are as sexual beings. All people are sexual, whether they actively have sex or not. Sexuality is all the things that make us sexual beings.

Body parts Male and female hormones and sex organs
Gender identity How we see ourselves; the core sense that we are male or female, both, neither, or somewhere along the gender spectrum
Gender expression How we act, dress, and who we talk with show others who we are
Sexual orientation Emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction that a person feels towards another person
Gender role The idea of how we should behave if we are female or male
Sexual health Our state of physical, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality; body image—how we feel about our body; relationships and closeness; how we experience intimacy, touch, love, compassion, joy, and sorrow

We express our sexuality in the way we speak, smile, stand, sit, dress, dance, laugh, and cry. Sexuality is at the heart of who we are, what we believe, what we feel, and how we respond to others.

Sexual Health

Sexual health is your state of physical, mental, and social well-being in relation to your sexuality. When you are sexually healthy, you are comfortable with your sexuality. You are free from disease, violence, injury, fear, and false beliefs. You feel secure and supported.

Many factors influence sexual health. One important factor is body image. Body image is how each person sees and feels about their physical body, in their own mind. Body image can have a negative or positive effect on what decisions we make about our sexuality, and how we make them.

Teens may feel they are not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not tall enough, not muscular enough, not curvy enough, not feminine or masculine enough, etc. This negative, “not enough” thinking can cause teens to make decisions they would not otherwise make, if they had a more positive body image. They feel inadequate and want to do something to make up for that feeling.

Other important factors related to sexual health include how we experience relationships, intimacy, and love. Positive experiences contribute to good sexual health. Negative or harmful experiences such as sexual violence can severely damage our sexual health. This, in turn, has lasting effects on most other parts of our lives. The impacts of residential school are a prime example of this.

It is very important to be sexually healthy, as our sexuality is at the heart of who we are, what we believe, what we feel, and how we respond to others.