World Sexual Health Day Canada

The Centre for Gender & Sexual Health Equity hosts World Sexual Health Day Canada annually on September 4 and throughout the month of September. You can submit, join and view events on our WSHD 2022 Events and Advocacy Calendar, guided by this year’s theme: Let’s Talk Pleasure.

World Sexual Health Day was founded in 2010, when the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) invited organizations, communities and individuals around the globe to celebrate sexual health, wellbeing and rights for all. In 2020, CGSHE partnered with WAS as the Canadian host of the day. Since then, our website has been the national platform for WSHD information and events taking place across the country. Are you hosting a WSHD 2022 event? Submit it to our Events and Advocacy Calendar!

WSHD 2022 Featured Event

Our featured event for World Sexual Health Day 2022 was a CGSHE Lunch & Learn with Dr. Samantha Dawson, CGSHE and UBC Psychology faculty. In her talk What’s pleasure got to do with it? An overlooked aspect of sexual health and well-being Dr. Dawson discussed her research on sexual health and pleasure conducted through her Sexual Well-being (SWELL) Lab at UBC.


WSHD 2022 Theme: Let’s Talk Pleasure

The theme for World Sexual Health Day 2022, Let’s Talk Pleasure, was born from the spirit of the Declaration on Sexual Pleasure issued by the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) in 2021. The WAS Declaration 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 conceptualizations 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. Sexual pleasure has been described as the enjoyment derived from sexual interaction, including a variety of positive feelings arising from sexual stimulation. 

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.  For more information visit the World Association for Sexual Health.