Sexual Health

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What is Sexual Health

Sexual health encompasses a positive, respective and pleasurable approach to sexuality and sexual relation. Sex should take place between two or more consenting adults in a safe manner that is free of coercion. Read about sexual health and dysfunction on our sexual health series.

Because your body is exposed to the other person very closely, some diseases can spread through bodily fluids. That is why it is important to use protection when you are having sex. Using a condom protects you from spreading and getting diseases, like HIV. A quick tip on condom use, do not use lubrication like baby oil or vaseline, these make the condom break easily, rather use water-based lubricants.

If you do not want to have children at that time, it is best to use one of the contraceptive methods outlines in our Family planning booklet of this series

Our booklet on Rape crisis offers information on what to do in case of sexual violence. There is also a booklet on emergency contraception and termination of pregnancy in the event of unwanted pregnancy.

Sexual dysfunction can occur, in which someone does not have or has impaired sexual desire or response to sexual cues. This causes emotional distress and dissatisfaction to all parties involved. If you want to learn more about sexual dysfunction, visit our additional resources interface.

Children and sexual abuse

It is important to protect children from sexual abuse. Be careful with whom you leave your child and be sure to look out for any signs your child might use to ask for help. Read our rape crisis booklet for information and help.

Who to contact

The police can help you when you have been sexually assaulted. They can tell you who to see. Doctors and social workers can also help you. Use the Department of Social Development’s website to get help and find out more about gender based violence (

There are also organisations that can help, like “People Opposed to Woman Abuse”, you can phone them (011 642 4345) or go to their website (

If children are sexually assaulted you can contact Childline South Africa by phoning them (0800 055 555) or going to their website ( You can also contact Child Welfare South Africa by phoning (074 080 8315) or going to their website (

Families dealing with sexual assault can also contact Families South Africa (FAMSA) for help. You can phone (011 975 7106/7) or go to their website (

You can access all these contacts through the additional resources page. There are many other organisations that can help.

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