Six Principles of Sexual Health – Dr. Doug Braun-Harvey
Sexual health author, trainer and psychotherapist Douglas Braun-Harvey discusses the six principles of sexual health. His work bridges sexual and mental health. His is one of the many approaches I use in my practice of sex therapy to address any sex or sexuality issues you may have.
He is the co-founder with Al Killen-Harvey of The Harvey Institute. This is an international education, training, consulting and supervision service for improving health care through integration of sexual health.
Since 1993 he has been developing and implementing a sexual health based treatment approach for men with out of control sexual behaviour (OCSB). His new book, published in 2015, “Treating Out of Control Sexual Behaviour: Rethinking Sex Addiction” was co-authored with Michael Vigorito.
Doug Braun-Harvey and Michael Vigorito propose a sexual health foundation to provide effective and ethical treatment for men with Out of Control Sexual Behaviour (OCSB). These principles, taken from their book, ease the influence of condemning, disapproving, or stigmatizing socio-cultural sexual values.
Consent is a “voluntary cooperation” and the permission to reach sexual satisfaction and intimacy with oneself and willing partners. Safe, consensual sex is a human right and the essential sexual health principle. It makes mutually positive sexual interactions possible. Consent is a very big issue. Was there a yes, or no? Learn about consent on this 4 minute video.
A person can increase the likelihood of nonexploitative sex when they remain highly motivated to ensure they are not taking unfair advantage to gain access to a sexual partner or sexual activity. Here is more detail about sexual exploitation. What, if any, are the power imbalances? Is information being withheld from one partner?
3. Protected from STIs and unintended pregnancy
Those involved in sexual activity must be capable of protecting themselves and their partners from a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and unintended or unwanted pregnancy. Have you ever had a safe sex talk beforehand?
Sexual health involves direct and open communication with oneself and one’s partners. Honesty is a crucial building block for sexual relations with others. Honesty is necessary for effective communication to uphold all of the sexual health principles. How transparent are you with your partner? Are your wants and desires expressed? Do you keep your agreements?
5. Shared values
Sexual relations between partners involve clarifying underlying motives, sexual standards, and the meaning of specific sexual acts for each person. This principle promotes conversations between sex partners to clarify their consent for sexual relations, discuss their sexual values and articulate motivations for having sex. This is the other safe sex talk – What does having sex mean to you?
6. Mutual Pleasure
This prioritises the giving and receiving of pleasure. Each moment of heightened pleasure can have many meanings that can change over time and with different partners. Valuing the pleasure of sex as a positive and life-enhancing aspect of sex is vital for ensuring mutual pleasure. Watch this 10 minute video with Dr. Laurie Mintz discussing the orgasm gap between cis-gendered women who have sex with cis-gendered men. The research shows women having substantially fewer orgasms than men.
Mutually pleasurable sexual activity invites clients to consider their bodily, erotic, and emotional sensualities for themselves and their partners. Is the experience on balance satisfying for both, or is it a one way street?