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Vision of Sexual Health
AASECT affirms the fundamental value of sexuality as an inherent, essential, and beneficial dimension of being human.
AASECT accepts as its mission the advancement of the highest standards of professional practice for educators, counselors, and therapists.
AASECT opposes all psychological, social, cultural, legislative, and governmental forces that would restrict, curtail, or interfere with the fundamental values of sexual health and sexual freedom that we espouse. AASECT also opposes all abuses of sexuality including, but not limited to, harassment, intimidation, coercion, prejudice, and the infringement of any individual's sexual and civil rights.
Furthermore, AASECT affirms the following nine statements of value and vision:
- Sexual Health and Sexual Freedom: AASECT believes that healthy sexual activity is always consensually conducted, freely chosen, individually governed, and free from undue risk of physical or psychological harm. AASECT believes that all individuals should be supported in seeking and finding opportunities to pursue a healthy and happy sexual life of their own choosing. AASECT believes that all individuals are entitled to enjoy:
- Freedom of their sexual thoughts, feelings, and fantasies.
- Freedom to engage in healthy modes of sexual activity, including both self-pleasuring and consensually shared-pleasuring.
- Freedom to exercise behavioral, emotional, economic, and social responsibility for their bodily functioning, their sexual liaisons, and their chosen mode of loving, working, and playing.
- AASECT believes that these rights pertain to all people no matter their age, gender, race, class, abilities, sexuality, family structure, backgrounds, religious beliefs, and circumstances.
- Sexual Variability and Rights: AASECT recognizes the many varieties of sexuality including, but not limited to, the full range of sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions, and erotic preferences. AASECT opposes the pathologizing application of labels such as "normal" and "abnormal" to these variations in the sexual expression of adults, and AASECT believes that all sexual and cultural minorities should enjoy sexual freedom, equal civil rights, and parity of social opportunities and privileges.
- Sexual Health of Minors: AASECT advocates for the sexual health and rights of minors, for their protection as well as for their education, and AASECT therefore opposes all forces that would restrict or interfere with the entitlement of children and adolescents to develop in a sexually healthy manner that is age-appropriate, and entirely free from adult exploitation.
- Sexual Rights of Individuals with Disabilities: AASECT recognizes that the right to pursue a healthy and happy sexual life applies to all individuals, and not just to those who conform to a particular body type, physical condition, or mental status. AASECT believes that individuals with disabilities should be offered special support, and opportunities for sexual expression appropriate to their situation and circumstances.
- Reproductive Rights: AASECT recognizes and supports the right of all individuals to have access to the best available technologies for reproductive decision-making, and to individually-governed freedom of choice in all matters pertaining to reproduction.
- Access to Erotic Materials: AASECT believes in the right of all individuals to be free to access erotic art, and erotic performances, and to be free to utilize sexual accessories and media in their pursuit of a healthy sexual life.
- Comprehensive Sexuality Education: AASECT recognizes that there is an urgent need for comprehensive education about sexual health to be made available to all people, and advocates for social, cultural, political, and economic change to expand, and extend the availability of quality education in sexual health. AASECT recognizes that valid and helpful education for sexual health must respect the beliefs as well as the cultural and individual practices of the people to whom educational efforts are addressed. AASECT accepts as its mission the obligation to be the premier organization for advancing high standards in the practices of sexuality education.
- Sexuality Healing and the Rights of Patients and Clients: AASECT recognizes the prevalence of sexual practices that are unhealthy, and unhappy, and acknowledges that many people struggle with sexual distress and dysfunction. AASECT believes that there is an urgent need for sexual healing practices, that is, for biopsychosocial or holistic care, for therapeutic intervention, and for personal growth opportunities to be made available to all people, who are compromised in their pursuit of sexual health and happiness. AASECT further believes that opportunities for sexual healing should be accessible to every individual interested in furthering their capacity for erotic pleasure as well as for gratifying emotional relationships and that such services should be provided in a manner that secures the client's or patient's privacy, confidentiality, and self-respect. Therefore, AASECT agrees with those social, cultural, political, and economic changes that expand, and extend the availability of the highest quality of clinical services in sexual health. AASECT accepts as its mission the development of, and advancement of the highest standards for sexuality healing practices, as well as its specific mission to train clinical professionals specializing in human sexuality. AASECT accepts as its mission the obligation to be the premier organization for advancing high standards in the practices of sexuality healing.
- Humanitarian Crises Impact on Sexual Health. AASECT firmly upholds the principle that people come before governments, property, geography, and borders. We condemn anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, and fascism in all forms. We stand united against violence and unconditionally affirm the right of all people to safety, freedom from harm, bodily autonomy, access to aid, justice, and restoration. AASECT remains steadfast in our commitment to fostering an environment where the dignity and human rights of all individuals are upheld, regardless of background and identity as we recognize the systemic effects of violence and trauma on sexual health.
Accordingly, AASECT will remain vigilant about and support those issues pertaining to sexual health and sexual rights wherever and whenever the opinion of the professional expertise that we represent might exert a positive influence.
Revised by AASECT Board of Directors in November of 2023