What Does Healthy Sexuality Look Like?

I just got back from a powerful weekend at Momentum: Making Waves in Sexuality, Feminism and Relationships. A wide variety of topics were covered, and I’m sure to write more about the con either here or at my own blog, but one thing that really struck me was something Lara Riscol said during the closing plenary – we don’t know what healthy sexuality looks like.

This got me thinking about what exactly healthy sexuality does look like. Almost immediately, I realized that my healthy sexuality will differ from yours, and we will differ from others. But there’s many points to consider as parts of healthy sexuality in society, and I’m going to brainstorm some here. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I welcome comments adding to or even questioning the ideas I put forth.


Healthy sexuality includes everyone having the agency to decide what healthy sexuality looks like for them. It requires consent and that coercion or force is not used. It requires accurate sexual health information be accessible to all.’

Healthy sexuality includes those who are asexual or have low libido. When having choices in sex, you need to have the option to not have it.

Healthy sexuality is a queer person being able to embrace how they like their sex, no matter what society might say. Healthy sexuality includes all people – cis, trans, men, women, queer, straight, able-bodied, disabled, black, white, old, young, etc. It includes the ability to have a fluid sexual identity – or to have your identity change. Also, being able to choose or reject labels for yourself rather than having someone else apply them.

Healthy sexuality includes consensual bdsm. I know that personally a good spanking on a regular basis from someone I can trust is necessary for my well being. Of course, choosing not to participate in bdsm is part of healthy sexuality, too.

Healthy sexuality includes monogamous relationships and non-monogamous ones – as long as you get to choose what you want to be a part of. It includes having the knowledge necessary to use safer sex. It also includes having partners agree to your safer sex parameters and help put them into your play.

In healthy sexuality, consent counts. Autonomy counts. Only you can decide what healthy sexuality is for you. That also means you don’t have the right to decide what someone else’s sexuality should include.

If we could have a society where sexuality is seen as a normal part of human life, sexual health services are widely available, and sex education is available to everyone, we’d all stand a better chance of being able to figure out what healthy sexuality is for ourselves.

What does your healthy sexuality look like? Are you able to envision it? Are you having it?

Nadia West

Nadia West is a self-identified slut, polyamorist, queer, kinky, submissive, feminist librarian. Studying human sexuality is a hobby for her. Nadia lives in NYC with her Dominant and his other submissive.

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1 Response

  1. Thought-provoking post, Nadia – as I’m sure it was intended to be!  My sexuality is as healthy as it’s possible for it to be in today’s society, but it’s been a hard road to walk, and I cannot take it for granted.  

    xx Dee