The State of Sexual Health
Illustration: Jaelen Brock
Author: Giddy Staff

Sexual health is an important aspect of overall health that affects both individuals and society. The topic includes emotional and physical well-being, financial security, and public health, with implications for everything from the economy to morbidity and mortality rates.

Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the United States falls behind other industrialized nations in terms of sexual health. Experts point to several challenges, including a rise in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and a lack of comprehensive sexual health education. The COVID-19 crisis has been officially declared over, but the pandemic caused trickle-down effects in terms of funding shortfalls for public health programs, including ones related to sexual health.

In this nine-part series, Giddy investigates some of the most pressing sexual and reproductive health challenges facing the U.S., examines how government and public health services are meeting expectations and suggests future goals that should be met. 

This series draws on published research and insights from leading sexual health experts, such as physicians and university professors. We also have exclusive interviews with representatives of the country's most influential organizations and institutions including the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and SIECUS (formerly Sexual Information and Education Council of the U.S.).

In addition to your own well-being, education and government policy initiatives matter, too.
Insufficient resources can affect everything from mortality to the economy.
From the COVID pandemic to shifts in reproductive rights, barriers block access to basic care.
Experts address using funding and policies to create a roadmap for better services and access.
Better sex education is helpful, but it's only part of a multifactorial problem.
Should sex ed be taught in schools? A surprising number of parents think so.
Better mental health services could impact our physical, sexual and psychological well-being.
Whether you’re talking to the doctor or your partner, you need to start advocating for yourself.
Experts say the U.S. could benefit from a holistic, health-focused approach to sexual health.