XIII World Congress of Sexology

Valencia Declaration on Sexual Rights

At the XIII World Congress of Sexology in Valencia, Spain, June 1997, the following declaration was approved. See also the World Association for Sexology.

Valencia Declaration on Sexual Rights

We, the participants of the XIII World Congress of Sexology, declare that:

Sexuality is a changing and dynamic dimension of humanity. It is constructed through the interaction between the individual and social structures. It is present throughout the life cycle, harmonizing identity and creating and /or strengthening interpersonal bonds.

Sexual pleasure, including autoeroticism, is a source of physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual well-being. It is associated with a conflict-free and anxiety-free experience of sexuality, allowing, therefore, social and personal development.

We hereby urge that societies create the conditions to satisfy the needs for the full development of the individual and respect the following SEXUAL RIGHTS:

  1. The right to freedom, which excludes all forms of sexual coercion, exploitation and abuse at any time and in all situations in life. The struggle against violence is a social priority. All children should be desired and loved.

  2. The right to autonomy, integrity and safety of the body. This right encompasses control and enjoyment of our own bodies, free from torture, mutilation and violence of any sort.

  3. The right to sexual equity and equality. This refers to freedom from all forms of discrimination, paying due respect to sexual diversity, regardless of sex, gender, age, race, social class, religion and sexual orientation.

  4. The right to sexual health, including availability of all sufficient resources for development of research and the necessary knowledge of HIV/AIDS and STDs, as well as the further development of resources for research, diagnosis and treatment.

  5. The right to wide, objective and factual information on human sexuality in order to allow decision-making regarding sexual life.

  6. The right to a comprehensive sexuality education from birth and throughout the life cycle. All social institutions should be involved in this process.

  7. The right to associate freely. This means the possibility to marry or not, to divorce, and to establish other types of sexual associations.

  8. The right to make free and responsible choices regarding reproductive life, the number and spacing of children and the access to means of fertility regulation.

  9. The right to privacy, which implies the capability of making autonomous decisions about sexual life within a context of personal and social ethics. Rational and satisfactory experience of sexuality is a requirement for human development.

Human sexuality is the origin of the deepest bond between human beings and is essential to the well-being of individuals, couples, families and society. Therefore, the respect for sexual rights should be promoted through all means.


Approved June 1997

(File revised 15 November 2007