The importance of listing sexual human rights is that they offer a framework of protection against abuse as well as unjust or harsh punishment for alleged immoral behavior, and provide general criteria for a positive approach to sexual feelings and practices, educational principles, legal and social reform.
Declaration of sexual rights
The following sexual rights were adopted at the 14th World Congress of sexologists in Hong Kong 1999:
- The right to sexual equality, regardless of race, gender, sexual oriëntation (see Variants), age, class, religion or handicap.
- The right to sexual liberty, the full expression of sexual possibilities without force, exploitation, or abuse at any age.
- The right to sexual pleasure as a source of well-being (see Skills).
- The right to correct sexual information and education for all social categories and ages (see Facts of life).
- The right to sexual self determination, free from violence, torture, mutilation.
- The right to sexual privacy, free from false accusations, house searching or deprivation of property.
- The right to reproductive choice with full access to proper contraception and abortion services.
- The right to choose sexual partners, the right to divorce and cohabitation without marriage.
- The right to sexual health and the availability of help to prevent and treat sexual dysfunctions.
Sexual rights, an utopian wish
This declaration of sexual rights expresses an almost utopian wish for conditions that as yet do not prevail anywhere in the world, even in the most so-called ‘liberal’ countries, one of which is supposed to be Holland. In practice, the ruling world opinion interprets these rights according to prevailing sexual prejudice and so certain violations will be exposed, such as circumcision of girls (not of boys) , the persecution of homosexuals (not of paedophiles), the lack of campaigns against sexually transmissible infections (not the absence of love education for the young), and so on.
In a way, thinking in terms of these rights goes back to an earlier phase in recent history. Over the last 25 years or so, there has been a reaction against the new sexual ideas that came up during the 1960s and 70s. So, apart from certain improvements, the demand for sexual rights is still necessary, because they are a long way from being fulfilled.