What is Sexual Pleasure? 

The World Association for Sexual Health developed the Sexual Pleasure Declaration as a call to action. It was presented at the World Congress in Mexico City in 2019 and finally ratified by the General Assembly of WAS in September 2021 during the online WAS congress, hosted from Cape Town.  It states: “Sexual pleasure is the physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment derived from shared or solitary erotic experiences, including thoughts, fantasies, dreams, emotions, and feelings.” 

To quote directly from the WAS Sexual Pleasure Declaration, on World Sexual Health Day, WAS wants to reaffirm the following: 

“Self-determination, consent, safety, privacy, confidence and the ability to communicate and negotiate sexual relations are key enabling factors for pleasure to contribute to sexual health and well-being. Sexual pleasure should be exercised within the context of sexual rights, particularly the rights to equality and non-discrimination, autonomy and bodily integrity, the right to the highest attainable standard of health and freedom of expression. The experiences of human sexual pleasure are diverse and sexual rights ensure that pleasure is a positive experience for all concerned and not obtained by violating other people’s human rights and well-being.” 

Full Text of the Declaration on Sexual Pleasure 

Full Text of the Pleasure Technical Document 

Library of Articles on Sexual Pleasure from the International Journal of Sexual Health 


Goal for WSHD 2022: 

On World Sexual Health Day, the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) URGES all governments, international intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, health and education authorities, health care providers, professionals working in sexuality, advocates, the media, private sector actors, and society at large, and particularly, all member organisations of the World Association for Sexual Health to: 

  • Promote sexual pleasure in law and policy as a fundamental part of sexual health and well-being, grounded in the principles of sexual rights as human rights, including self-determination, non-discrimination, privacy, bodily integrity, and equality. 
  • Recognize that significant barriers to sexual expression and the experience of pleasure are rooted in diverse systems encompassing policy and legal frameworks; cultural mores, and economic injustice. These barriers manifest in countless ways, from overt coercion to less obvious but equally detrimental cultural entrenchments leading to feelings of guilt, stigma, and shame. Leadership from institutions is essential, both in proactively identifying such barriers on a societal level – be they based on law or cultural norms and expectations – and leading open, effective discussions to facilitate change. 


Background to WSHD:  

Guided by then-President Rosemary Coates of Australia, the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) launched the first World Sexual Health Day in 2010 to bring the global community together to promote sexual health and well-being. A key element of these efforts is recognising sexual health within a human rights framework as outlined 25 years ago in the landmark Valencia, Spain Declaration of Sexual Rights. World Sexual Health Day is central to and an important celebration of advancing the mission of WAS and creating a world where sexual health is optimised for all.  


Theme for 2022  

The theme for this year is Let’s Talk Pleasure. We believe pleasure is a critical part of sexual health and rights which makes it central to overall health and well-being.  

Conceptual Framework 

The theme for World Sexual Health Day 2022, Let’s Talk Pleasure, was borne from the spirit of the Declaration on Sexual Pleasure issued by the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) in 2021.  

The WAS Declaration on Sexual Pleasure highlights the importance of including pleasure in sexual health promotion, comprehensive sexual health education and services and sexual health policy – reinforcing the concept of pleasure as an essential ingredient of sexuality, sexual health and sexual rights. 

As outlined in the WAS Declaration, the meaning of sexual pleasure is complex, multifaceted, and diverse. That is, feelings around sexual pleasure are subjective, socially constructed and may include diverse sexual activities. Biological components of pleasure include the responses of organs in the nervous system, hormones and genital blood flow. While past conceptualisations have emphasised the physiological and/or genital aspects of sexual pleasure, more recent understandings conceptualise pleasure as having emotional, cognitive, physical and mind-body connections, such as “losing oneself”. Sexual pleasure has been described as the enjoyment derived from sexual interaction, including a variety of positive feelings arising from sexual stimulation. 

In short, sexual pleasure is the physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment derived from shared or solitary erotic experiences, including thoughts, fantasies, dreams, emotions, and feelings. 

Today, the entitlement to experience sexual pleasure and enjoy sexuality has been supported by the formal recognition of human rights standards related to sexuality and sexual health by international, regional and national human rights, judiciary and legislative bodies. These standards call for autonomous informed decision making around sexuality, reproductive choices, the accessibility of sexual health information and education, and the ability to express sexuality without discrimination, violence or stigma either socially or within institutional or governmental settings. For instance, WAS affirms in their Declaration of Sexual Rights that sexuality is an integral part of the personhood of every human being, regardless of whether that person chooses to reproduce or not. In addition, WAS has advocated for the notion that promoting sexual health and rights (including pleasure) is essential to attaining sustainable human development goals such as the eradication of poverty and achieving a peaceful world.  

The importance of the WAS Declaration on Sexual Pleasure is highlighted by the critical need to ensure that investments in sexual health are as effective as possible and not only address adverse sexual health outcomes but ensure sexual well-being, health and pleasure for all. 



The official date is September 4, 2022, but we encourage stakeholders to be active throughout the entire month. 



Social media, educational programs, cultural activities, engagement with journalists/media outlets, political activism.  


Specific Activities:  

If you are looking for a 2-hour event to attend on WSHD: 

Sexual Pleasure Webinar Exclusive to WAS Members: 

Sunday, 4 September at 15h00 (Central European Time) 

All individual and organisational members of WAS in good standing can participate in this exclusive webinar. Please contact if you or your organisation is not in good standing or if you would like to become a member of WAS. 

Here are the topics that will be covered:

  • The Politics of Pleasure
  • The History and Significance of the Sexual Pleasure Declaration
  • Pleasure in Sex Research
  • Pleasure to increase couple’s well-being
  • TGD Sexual Pleasure
  • Sex Pleasure and the Youth
  • How to Increase Sexual Pleasure
  • Pleasure in Comprehensive Sexuality Education
  • The Pleasure Principles

If you would like to host a comprehensive training as part of your WSHD celebrations: 

The Pleasure Principles 

One of the WAS member organisations, the Pleasure Project has developed the Pleasure Principles which are officially endorsed by WAS.  

These Pleasure Principles are designed to act as a guide and inspiration to support people and organisations to embark on the journey towards a sex-positive, pleasure-based approach to sexual health. The Pleasure Principles aim to help inspire and guide you as a pleasure activist, propagandist or practitioner.

The Pleasure Principles can be downloaded here:

Pleasure Principles

The training toolkit can be downloaded here: 

The Pleasure Project Training Toolkit 

WAS encourages all our members to endorse the Pleasure Principles. You can find out more about endorsing the Pleasure Principles here:

Endorsing the Pleasure Principles

OR: Exercise your own creativity and organise an event that is most appropriate for your context! 

Whatever you do, take many pictures and please write us a brief report on your event to be shared on our social media platforms. Do not forget to tag us! 



The primary platform will be online, and this can be as simple as sharing our content and hashtags in your own channels. See Media Strategy below for more.  

In previous years WSHD organisers have taken activities to schools, hospitals, libraries, public squares, art and theatre groups. WAS is committed to having sexual health issues discussed in a diverse set of venues. To expand your reach, we recommend partnering with local institutions such as health agencies/departments, schools, colleges/universities, patient organsations, non-profits and NGOs working in sexual and reproductive health.  


Media Strategy 

Share and post #WSHD2022 content in all social media networks and platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok. This includes promotional content we’ll be using ahead of September 4 as well as what we’ll share on WSHD. The WSHD landing page has sample social media content and graphics.  

Engage and tag local media/journalists through their social media accounts, preferably ahead of WSHD to generate interest and local coverage. 

Along with the official logo, use the hashtags #WSHD2022 and #WorldSexualHealthDay2022 to make your activities more visible and to connect with others who are taking part. Tag us too! @SexualHealthDay. Let us see what you’re doing.  

Pictures and images tend to generate the most attention and interaction and are highly encouraged. Take pictures, tag them as described above, and we’ll use them in our social media, too.  



Jul-Aug 2022 – Plan the activity that you would like to carry out in accordance with your cultural needs, translating all the needed information to spread the idea (such as a press release).  

July-Aug 2022 – Select the location(s) to carry out your activity to celebrate #WSHD2022. 

Aug-Sep 2022 – Contact all the possible media (magazines, television, newspapers, and social media influencers) in order to start spreading the idea.  

Aug-Sep 2022 – Prepare all the materials and human resources that you’ll need such as banners and posters of the suggested activity or photographers who would be willing to take pictures. Be sure to include the WSHD logo.  

September 4, or around this date. This is the big day! Carry out your activities and take all the pictures that you can to document your actions. Upload your pictures along with any articles that are published about the activity in local media to the WSHD global Facebook page.  

Sample Social Media & Digital Content 

Access the digital toolkit for resources including social media content, website banners, videos, journal articles, and more. Get involved and make a difference! #WorldSexualHealthDay2022 #WSHD2022 #LetsTalkPleasure. 

Sample Text:  

Pleasure is healthy! It’s an important part of emotional and physical well-being so join us in celebrating #WorldSexualHealthDay2022 and #LetsTalkPleasure. #WSHD2022 


Committee Members: 

Lynn Barclay, Chair 

Jaqueline Brendler  

Stefano Eleuteri, Vice Chair 

Cristina Tania Fridman 

Alain Giami  

Felipe Hurtado Murillo  

Jeyarani Kamaraj  

Sara Nasserzadeh  

Luis Perelman 

Tomoko Saotome 

Masayoshi Yanagida 


For More Information Contact 

Twitter: @SexualHealthDay and @DiaSaludSexual  

Facebook: and  

World Sexual Health Day official site (in English and Spanish) 

World Association of Sexual Health:  

World Sexual Health Day – English

Día Mundial de la Salud Sexual – Español

Join the celebration in social media

The history behind World Sexual Health Day

In 2010, the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) called all their organizations to celebrate, on each September 4th, the World Sexual Health Day (WSHD) in an effort to promote a greater social awareness on sexual health across the globe. The first World Sexual Health Day was celebrated with the slogan “Let’s talk about it!” to start breaking fears and taboos surrounding sexuality.

World Sexual Health Day has been celebrated in 60 countries with a wide range of activities from Round Tables of Discussion to Conferences and Art Exhibitions. Country organizers have taken WSHD activities to schools, media, hospitals, libraries, universities, public squares, art halls, theatre groups, etc. WAS wants to ensure that sexual health issues are discussed everywhere! Past topics of World Sexual Health Day are:

  • 2021 TURN IT ON [Sexual Health in a digital word]
  • 2020 “Sexual pleasure in times of COVID-19”
  • 2019 “Sexuality Education for all: a bridge to sexual health”
  • 2018 “Sexual Health and Sexual Rights are FUNDAMENTAL for well-being – Celebrating 40 years of the World Association for Sexual Health”
  • 2017 “Love, bonding and intimacy, a possibility for all”
  • 2016 “Sexual Health: Eliminating the Myths”
  • 2015 “Sexual Health for a fairer society”
  • 2014 “Sexual health: The well-being of sexuality”
  • 2013 “To achieve sexual health, picture yourself owning your sexual rights!”
  • 2012 “In a diverse world, sexual health for all!”
  • 2011 “Youth’s sexual health: Shared rights and responsibilities.”
  • 2010 “Let’s talk about it!”