Declaration of Sexual Rights
Sexuality is an integral part of the personality of every human being. Its full
development depends upon the satisfaction of basic human needs such as the desire
for contact, intimacy, emotional expression, pleasure, tenderness and love.
Sexuality is constructed through the interaction between the individual and
social structures. Full development of sexuality is essential for individual,
interpersonal, and societal well being. Sexual rights are universal human rights
based on the inherent freedom, dignity, and equality of all human beings. Since
health is a fundamental human right, so must sexual health be a basic human
right. In order to assure that human beings and societies develop healthy sexuality,
the following sexual rights must be recognized, promoted, respected, and defended
by all societies through all means. Sexual health is the result of an environment
that recognizes, respects and exercises these sexual rights.
- 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
- 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 one's own personal and social ethics. It also
encompasses control and enjoyment of our own bodies free from torture, mutilation
and violence of any sort.
- The right to sexual privacy. This involves the right for individual decisions
and behaviors about intimacy as long as they do not intrude on the sexual
rights of others.
- 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.
- The right to sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure, including autoeroticism,
is a source of physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual well being.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The right to comprehensive sexuality education. This is a lifelong process
from birth throughout the life cycle and should involve all social institutions.
- 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
Adopted in Hong Kong at the 14th World Congress of Sexology,
August 26, 1999