Sexual health and identity are versatile subjects with numerous sides and elements to consider. It is a crucial part of every person’s life that affects physiological and psychological wellbeing. Moreover, some social groups and institutions are incorporated with the concept of sexual health since it challenges the accustomed norms and beliefs. Four sociological lenses can provide an analysis of the subject to understand its ideas better. Thus, this paper aims to analyze sexual health and identity from the natural and applied sciences, social sciences, the humanities, and the historical and recognize its influence on society.
Social Aspects of Sexual Health and Identity
The subject significantly impacts some social institutions, including familial, educational, and healthcare. Studying sexual health and identity gives a broader perspective on the interactions between partners, types of intimate relations, self-identity quality medical assistance. Moreover, the stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around reproductive health are being challenged, which gives the opportunity for minorities to get recognition in that sphere. Sexual health creates many benefits, especially for the underrepresented community, such as LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. Modern technologies can educate the masses about the wide spectrum of identities, provide a deeper understanding of sex and gender, and eventually stimulate further progress.
However, there are still challenges regarding the accessibility of proper healthcare for gay and transgender people. Those individuals who are going through the gender transition face systematic discrimination and a lack of professional medical services. Interactions among people with different viewpoints on sexual health can vary significantly. Reproductive healthcare includes the right to abortion due to many reasons, whether it is a personal choice, medical condition, the result of sexual assault, or others. However, some people consider this practice unacceptable and often, because of religious beliefs, compare it to murder. Individuals with such positions in some way might contradict the concept of sexual health because they barely focus on the issue of contraception or mother’s safety, which should be a priority. Therefore, one of the best social practices regarding sexual health and identity is education on that topic, specifically for teenagers, and improved healthcare for different population groups, including minorities.
Natural and Applied Sciences Lens
Analyzing sexual health and identity through the perspective of natural and applied sciences can identify specific social commentary. Nowadays, the interconnection between sexual health and wellbeing has become more obvious to the population, and researches focus on studying its phenomena (Lunde et al., 2021). However, modern medicine still usually emphasizes the negative aspects of sex, attempting to make people more careful and aware while practicing sexual relationships.
Although it is crucial to learn about sexually transmitted diseases and contraception methods, it could be more effective to change the approach to the subject. If the healthcare providers shift to the positive side of sexual health and promote its usefulness and pleasure, then people’s attitudes towards it would also be different (Mitchell et al., 2021). Concentrating on sexual wellbeing from the scientific point of view eliminates the threatening implications around it and can push people towards a more reasonable attitude towards their sexual lives. However, it would be not out of fear but because of the desire to make the experience as much beneficial and pleasant as possible, avoiding risks that can ensure unnecessary distractions. Sexual health is also connected with biological factors since this is established in human nature and has to be perceived and treated the same way as other aspects of the human body.
For instance, society skeptically thinks about the active sexual life between older people and may believe that the necessity and desire in it declines after a certain age. However, some studies demonstrate that even older adults have a psychological and physiological need for sex as a part of close relationships and signs of good health (Sinković & Towler, 2019). In addition, science is capable of solving the problem of sexual health provision for people of different genders and identities. There is still a lack of proper treatment and medicine for transgender people, and medical personnel may not be able to perform the correct procedures or assist the person with their issues (Lunde et al., 2021). Misunderstandings regarding the difference between gender and sex still affect the quality of medical health for transgender people. In order to resolve the situation, the specifics of sexual care for transgender individuals should be more precisely researched because the knowledge about it is still limited. Furthermore, healthcare has to be more inclusive and give the possibility to get medical assistance, including the necessary treatment for patients with a distinct level of gender transition.
Social Sciences Lens
Through the lens of social sciences, it is possible to recognize some issues that exist in society. For instance, people with disabilities so far experience hardships with accessing sexual health and getting help from professionals (Nakkeeran & Nakkeeran, 2018). Although they may struggle with physical and mental limitations, the majority, however, remain sexually active, but this part of their lives seems to be ignored by the professionals and general society. (Nakkeeran & Nakkeeran, 2018). Therefore, it demonstrates that routes of the problems with sexual health lie in the lack of general social help and security for those who have additional struggles due to physical or mental limitations.
The culture of sex varies in the different age groups and has different representations for their members. As an example, younger people tend to be more careless and neglect protection during intimacy than adults (Paul Poteat et al., 2019). Sometimes sexual relations are supplemented with alcohol or substance use which increases the chances of negative outcomes. This demand generally affects the educational system since it stimulates the institutions to implement more information regarding the issue into the programs. As a preventive method, it can be helpful to decrease teenage pregnancies and teach adolescents responsibility regarding intimacy.
Therefore, sexual education is also an integral part of sexual health, and it influences a lot of people’s attitudes toward sexual health and their personal care about it. Regarding the LGBTQ+ representatives, they should be able to get the ability to learn about the specifics of the same-sex aspects as well as the heterosexual, cisgender people (Roberts et al., 2020). Many people are affected by the psychological bias that if they are in a romantic relationship with one partner, then they are safe and can avoid passing the medical check and neglecting the protection. Thus, more diverse and progressive education could eliminate some stigma and ignorance around the topic while ensuring that sexual minorities with the necessary knowledge and support in their sexual lives.
In turn, historical perspectives give an opportunity to discover the initial concepts of sexuality and get an insight into the causes and results that led to the modern ideas. Although, nowadays, people are much more educated about the topic and the sexual life of the regular individual shifted a lot compared to the last centuries. During the medial times, for instance, sex was more of a duty and responsibility to give birth to children and have someone to continue the genus. Women in that period served more as a tool for expanding the family, and they did not view sexual relations as a pleasurable act. However, everything has changed till those times, and people, especially, female have a chance to experience diverse sides of sexuality. Sexual health and identity became more important and received greater attention than it was before.
In addition, it seems that it most affects familial and healthcare institutions because of society’s stigma, stereotypes, and prejudices. For instance, medical workers can avoid conversations with the patients about the core points of sexual health and instead use fear as a prevention method. The study confirmed that the lack of history-based knowledge results in the lack of safety and neglect of contraception (Castellanos-Usigli & Braeken-van Schaik, 2019). The history lens may give a deeper understanding through reviewing the LGBTQ+ representatives’ position in society regarding sexual health and orientation. The minorities, such as representatives of the LGBTQ+ community and transgender people, experienced a massive deficit of quality medical assistance (Capriotti & Donaldson, 2022). They were not recognized by society and could hardly get any help, so rarely did some of them have an opportunity to get the treatment (Castellanos-Usigli & Braeken-van Schaik, 2019). Therefore, it impacted the spread of venereal diseases and healthcare in general because, historically, they could not access medical assistance.
A similar situation happens with sexuality since many individuals do not feel safe opening up to their surroundings and even the closest family members about their self-identity. Due to the conservatism of some parents and the lack of support for gay children, traditional family values do not seem much appealing anymore to the minorities. They create their own vision of classical social institutions and redo them so that it would be possible to adjust already existing norms to the new, constantly changing reality.
Various types of art and mass culture serve as powerful ways of expressing ideas and delivering a message to society, which includes sexual health and identity. Art became an answer to many issues and especially for the minority groups. LGBTQ people now have a more visual representation of same-sex relationships, and teenagers see more realistic intimate interactions on television. Consequently, the topic becomes less stigmatized, and underrepresented groups can find more recognition of their problems and struggles, which often are neglected.
The humanities lens allows to see the current tendencies in the society and define how it impacts one theme or another. Nowadays, more people become more open about their sexuality and share their experiences through books, Internet blogs, or films (McInroy et al., 2021). Modern culture develops more examples and representations of sex education and health by writing about it on blogs, talking on the shows, making podcasts, and focusing on it in online series. Specifically, there seems to be a growing tendency to the more realistic adolescent television shows and series that raise sexual health and identity.
Especially, it is crucial for the teenagers and children, who develop an interest in the topic of sexuality and strive to get more information about it. With the help of examples from the movies, young people can align the characters and the problems with themselves and the issues they struggle with on a daily basis (Philbin et al., 2021). Therefore, some creators started focusing on producing content that would allow adolescents to freely learn about the natural processes without feeling shame or guilt. As a result, some noticeably positive changes start to appear in the representation of this topic in society. For instance, in the bookstores and libraries, in the children’s section, illustrated books about reproductive health and sexuality were explained in simple language so that the younger audience could understand.
Overall, sexual health and identity interconnect with many social spheres and institutions since this is an integral part of human life. People express their sexuality and self-identity in different ways, and sociological lenses give various outlooks on this phenomenon. From the natural and applied science perspective, science plays a major role and has the power to influence the population’s attitude and bring more beneficial and positive insights of intimacy to the public.
Moreover, it can help the sexual minorities and provide them with innovative approaches and quality medicine. The humanities’ outtake allows people to share their ideas with the masses through the art form and send a certain message or claim to the public. In turn, the audience has an opportunity to learn from it about sexual relations and identity, especially if they do not have a representation in real life. The historical perspective on sexual health and identity identified the two central social institutions influenced by this subject: familial and healthcare institutions. The stigma around this topic contributes to the ignorance and lack of proper education, which eventually leads to negative health outcomes. Finally, the social science perspective on sexual health and identity gives an opportunity to evaluate particular spheres of social life that require some changes and renovations. People with disabilities and LGBTQ+ community members do not have enough possibilities to get medical assistance or education about sexual health. However, it also allows the healthcare and educational systems to address the issue and become more inclusive.
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