This is mainly because one’s rights are considered relative, something that could be subjectively defined…something that one should be given or taken. It is mostly esteemed from the individualistic cultures and doctrine such as the one in Northern America.
It is tightly woven within the sociopolitical system of a society, however, in my opinion Sexual Health could be a matter of objective measurement. Most people share the same body structures, physiology – the medicinal and health aspect – and also moral values which are by large universal. For example, assault, rape and aggressive encounters are frowned upon in all cultures, although they happen/reported more in some cultures more than others,it doesn’t mean that the predator doesn’t know that this is a wrong doing. Therefore I find it most helpful to use the concept of sexual health rather than sexual rights when working with various governments and groups across the world, especially when the general culture is more collective (moral values are highly valued) rather than individualistic (personal rights and freedom are more valued).
I first spoke about this at the Asian Federation of Sexology in Singapore more than ten years ago which then caused a huge reaction from the international organizations and activists but then gradually colleagues who are actually working in the field and with communities started to pick up this ideology and even better, after seeing measurable success they started promoting this idea on their own rights. We still have a long way to go to secure sexual health for all across the world but I am delighted to see that more and more colleagues are thinking about out-come based approaches rather than more emotionally charged and politically driven actions.
Would be interesting to see what you think…share your thoughts with me here.