Essay Example: Sexual Health and Teenagers

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Harvey Mudd College
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By definition, sexual health refers to the numerous factors that significantly impact sexual function and reproduction. However, according to the World Health Organization, an individuals general health depends heavily on their sexual health. In this regard, WHO refers to sexual health as a state of social, mental and physical well-being, relating to sexuality (WHO, 2013). Based on the extensive research done both in the past and in the modern day today, it is evident that given the right tools and information, young people, and especially the teenagers have the potential to take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health. With this regard, various developmental models link the sexual well-being of an individual to their physical, social mental, or emotional well-being (Frost Lehavot & Meyer, 2013). Therefore, the centrality of sexuality and the related health during teenage years is an indication that sexual health plays a significant role in the development of young peoples physical and emotional health. This being said, the core intent of this paper is to discuss the existing relationship between sexual, physical and emotional health among teenagers.

To begin with, despite the fact that adolescents and young adults are more self-aware and also more sexually consent today than in the past, a majority of them still suffer the fact that their sexual health directly impacts both their physical and emotional well-being. In the modern day today, some of the challenges faced by adolescents are such as early pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, difficulties with contraception, and HIV, among others. According to the World Health Organization, being sexually healthy does not only mean the absence of disease or infirmity. Instead, this is taken to mean a state of complete physical mental and social well-being (WHO). More specifically during teenage years, an individual goes through puberty, a stage in life when one becomes overly sexually mature. For girls, for instance, puberty involves the development of breasts and the commencement of the menstrual period (Young-gun Ko, 2016). These, in essence, are changes in the body that seemingly takes a toll on the persons physical and mental well-being. For boys, on the other hand, their graduation to sexual maturity involves the growth in the size of their penis and testicles which also brings about great change in both their physical and mental being (Greydanus & Merrick, 2013).

With reference to the relationship between sexual and emotional health, modern day scholars, contend that a majority of the teenage girls and boys who are often diagnosed with severe mental health issues and other related illnesses are more likely to report problems with their sexual health. For instance one of the most commonly reported sexual health issues among the teenagers are such as, having unprotected sex which in most cases leads to unwanted pregnancies or a lifetime history of STIs. Besides, a comparison done between teens suffering from mental health illnesses and those without mental illness indicates that those with mental illnesses are more likely to have unprotected sex as compared to those without the illnesses. In a similar regard, numerous community sample of teenage girls indicates that higher rates of unwanted pregnancies are most often associated with higher scores on a measure of bipolar disorder or other mentally related illnesses (Cole, 2015).

Additionally, there is also a significant relationship between sexual health and the general human health among teenagers. More specifically, general health or physical wellness is considered as the form of health that promotes proper care of our bodies for the sake of optimal health and normal body functioning (American Sexual Health Association, 2017). Particularly, for teenagers, maintaining sexual health in the physical being is another aspect of sexual health. This, in essence, means not becoming unwell and also being able to maintain general human health and also avoid diseases such as diabetes, Sexually Transmitted Infections or even unwanted pregnancies. In the same vein, teenagers particularly in the puberty age experience rapid physical changes relating to their sexual growth. This being the case, the level of their physical wellness always determines how much they will be socially and emotionally okay with their sexuality. Besides, at this age, obtaining an optimal level of physical wellness allows an individual in their teenage years to nurture their personal responsibility for the sake of their health.

With reference to the role played by health professionals, the rationale for choosing sexual health education and mainly targeting the teenagers has been an increased concern among various governmental institutions. In this regard, health professionals have an important role to play concerning the relationship between sexual, physical and emotional well-being among teenagers (Ansara, 2015). Particularly, while in the realm of their profession, it is crucial that the healthcare professionals highly consider both the emotional and physical aspects affecting teenage sexual health. According to the Department of Health (DoH), medical and healthcare practitioners have the primary role of educating teenagers on matters relating to sexual health as well as how it impacts their emotional and physical health. This being the case, DoH acknowledges that based on new evidence derived from modern day research, knowledge on Sexually Transmitted Infections and also HIV/AIDs should be made available to the teenagers by the healthcare professionals who ought to incorporate this kind of education when working with teenage patients.

Besides, it is important for healthcare professionals to consider the emotional and physical aspects relating to teenage sexual health in their daily practices since, at this age, teenagers are usually at a vulnerable state of mind. For instance, for healthcare professionals to optimize their practice while treating teenagers, they ought to help them understand the fact that sexuality is an important part of their health. In this regard, teenagers are able to comprehend that the state of mental, physical and social well-being in sexuality is not merely the absence of disease or even immunity. Instead, teenagers ought to understand that their general welfare requires a positive and respectful approach to sexual health and their sexual relationships which in turn create the possibilities of having safe and pleasurable sexual experiences that are free of violence, coercion, and discrimination.

While working with teenagers, healthcare professionals also need to consider various principles and professional aspects of healthcare so as to optimize their service delivery. Usually, these professional aspects of healthcare ought to describe what every person ranging from the medical care professional to the patient ought to expect during service delivery. Thus in this regard, based on the fact that the topic of sexual health is more sensitive among teenagers than any other age groups, professionals ought to consider both dignity and humanity in the course of their treatment. Besides, so as to understand the individuals needs health professionals should show compassion and sensitivity as a means to earn trust from the teenage patients.

Owing to the many body changes during puberty, teenagers tend to shy away from discussing a lot of physical and emotional changes that could be affecting their sexual health. This being the case, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals ought to adopt the non-judgemental practice during treatment. This kind of practice requires that the healthcare professional is proactive during service delivery to encourage the teenager to open up on matters relating to their sexual or emotional health especially in the puberty stage (Wilsons, 2017). Similarly, for the healthcare practitioner, it is important to employ the non-judgemental practice so as to avoid any form of biases during service delivery. According to scholars, the reason why the non-judgemental practice is important especially when dealing with teenagers is that, when left alone, the human brain is bound to judge things as good or bad, important or unimportant and so on. Thus, based on this context, it is important that the healthcare practitioner remains non-judgemental for the sake of optimizing service delivery.

Additionally, as a therapist, especially dealing with issues related to teenage sexual health, ethical issues are some of the primary professional aspects and principles that should be considered. It is evident that teenage sexual health substantially affects an individuals mental or emotional well-being. Therefore, with regard to the ethical professional aspects, the role of the therapist is to address the clients needs in ways that respect their values, capacity of self-determination and also personal resources. Besides, it is only ethical for the healthcare practitioner to empower the teenage patients in cases of disease and to also encourage them to take responsibility for their own lives for the benefit of their general health. According to a 2016 study done in an American high school, it was evident that attitudes and assumptions of health care providers are some of the core reasons why a lot of young people especially those in the puberty stage shy away from seeking treatment (Jung & Stephens, 2013). This being the case, healthcare professionals are encouraged to not only discuss sexual health issues during treatment but to also engage in some form of school-based sexual health education forums as a supplementary factor to the insufficient sexual health education among teenagers.

Similarly, while dealing with teenage patients, healthcare practitioners should consider employing some ethical values such as encouraging disclosure by the patient. More specifically, when discussing sexual health issues, due to fear of judgment teenagers seem to hesitate to reveal important information such as a number of sexual partners. Therefore, in such cases, as an ethical aspect, a therapist may offer reassurance to the patient by using open ended questions which effectively suggest the health practitioners accepted any kind of answer and was not going to judge the client (Rocker, 2014).

In conclusion, it is during teenage years that a majority of the individuals undergo puberty and hence becoming sexually mature. This being said, sexual health for persons belonging to this age group is crucial since teenagers ought to be informed that the overall health involving mental and physical health are two sides of the same coin with sexual health. Besides, for a majority of the teenagers, every aspect relating to their sexual health has the potential to impact their emotional well-being. Thus, in such case, healthcare professionals such as therapists and counselors may be needed so as to address these matters adequately.



American Sexual Health Association. (2017). Understanding Sexual Health -. Retrieved from

Ansara, Y. G. (2015). Improving Research Methodology in Adolescent Sexual Health Research. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(4), 367-369. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.01.013

Cole, E. (2015, February 4). Honest, open and non-judgemental : Nursing Standard: Vol. 29, No. 23 (RCNi). Retrieved from

Frost, D. M., Lehavot, K., & Meyer, I. H. (2013). Minority stress and physical health among sexual minority individuals. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38(1), 1-8. doi:10.1007/s10865-013-9523-8

Greydanus, D. E., & Merrick, J. (2013). Introduction Adolescent medicine: Pharmacotherapeutics in general, mental, and sexual he...

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