Why Sexual Health is Important
Pp. 1-11 (11)
Alison Bigrigg and Rosie Ilett
The introductory chapter describes the motivation for the collection - to explore the cultural,
social and organisational context of sexual health in twenty-first century Scotland. Written by the book's
co-editors, it argues that good sexual health is vitally important, and its absence linked to social
inequalities, often to discrimination and disempowerment.
The development of the first national sexual health strategy in Scotland forms the book’s core, and the
chapter explains why Scotland, as a devolved part of the UK, with its own government and health care
system is the site for investigation. Population health in Scotland is notably worse than the rest of the
UK, with health and social inequalities prominent. This context has enabled responses to emerge in
relation to sexual health that the chapter suggests are of wider interest and the chapter briefly describes
population demographics of Scotland, its political and geographical landscape, historical and
contemporary attitudes towards sex and sexual activity, and earlier policy thinking and the type of sexual
health services provided.
The structure for the book is set out, based on four sections - the social, political and cultural context;
structures and services developed through the sexual health strategy; sexual health service innovation,
and cross-cutting issues around partnership and integration – with information given about the authors.
The chapter finishes by proposing that a momentum has begun in Scotland around sex and sexual health,
and that this collection, whilst concerned about the implications of the current economic climate, argues
for optimism and hope for the future.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; Glasgow Centre for Population Health.