September 01, 2020 2 min read


Sexual rights are grounded in universal human rights and part of your basic sexual rights is to have safe and pleasurablesex, free of coercion and discrimination.

Is Sexual Pleasure a Human Right?

Yes, you have the right to experience sexual pleasure! Everyone is entitled to experience sexual pleasure. It doesn’t matter what your sex, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity is.

The World Association for Sexual Health published a Sexual Rights Declaration, containing all of your sexual rights – take a look at the full list, if you are interested. 

Should sexual pleasure take priority over the other sexual rights?

What happens if someone misinterprets their rights and think that their sexual pleasure take priority over the right of another person to say no? The belief that one has the right to use someone else for sexual pleasure is where things get dangerous. This can result in violence, manifested through rape, sexual coercion, sexual objectification, and forced sex work. During the lockdown we have seen an appalling rise in gender-based violence, not only in South Africa but globally. 

The one thing that I want to emphasise is that we all have sexual rights, but not at the expense of others. You have the right to experience pleasure but you have the right to say no. Let us take a stand against gender-based violence.

Why focus on sexual pleasure in times of COVID-19?

Since 2010 the World Association of Sexual Health has been celebrating the World Sexual Health Day (WSHD). On September 4th, WSHD brings greater awareness of sexual health to all parts of the globe. It is a day to celebrate sexuality and promote sexual rights.

This year the theme is “Sexual pleasure in times of COVID-19” which I believe to be very appropriate.  There will be a live event on Friday 4 September @16h00.  One of the speakers will be South Africa's beloved Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng and it will be hosted by the Clinical Head of My Sexual Health, Dr Elna Rudolph.

Click here to register for this free event and participate in a lively discussion about PLEASURE!

The Southern African Sexual Health Association (SASHA) is also hosting a free online event with Dr Taleng Mofokeng on 16 September.  To join that event, registere here.

Want to joing the Southern African Sexual Health Association? Visit their website to apply for registration.


Sexual Dysfunction due to COVID-19:

There have been numerous blogs and webinars on how COVID-19 has had an impact on sexual function globally. We have seen how lock down has influenced sexual function across the world, and I have definitely seen an increase in sexual dysfunction during the lock down.

Despite the fact that many of us going through a really tough time at the moment, remember that you still have the RIGHT TO SEXUAL PLEASURE!


Dr Jireh Serfontein

Head of  My Sexual Health Pretoria

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