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Understanding Sexuality


Discussion on sexuality should begin with awareness that the topic is considered ‘sensitive’ by many, especially in Eastern communities.

he information provided in this portal has been extensively reviewed by a committee comprising of educators, healthcare professionals, representatives from religious sectors and non-governmental organizations involved in sexuality education of the youths.


What is sexuality?

Sexuality is an expression of identity through gender (male and female). It is also a personal and private feeling that involves understanding of one’s own sexual responses and emotions.

These feelings include personal values and beliefs that interact with general concept of sex. Examples: Love and sexual orientation.

Four aspects (Biological, Psychological, Socio-cultural, Spiritual) of sexuality

  • There are many forms of human sexuality
  • It comprises the physiological, psychological, social, cultural, political, and spiritual or religious aspects of sex and human sexual behavior


3R of sexuality (Responsibility, Rights, and Respects)

  • Rights
    • Everyone has the right to get accurate information on sexuality
    • You have the right to make your own decisions. Your decisions should not bring harm to yourself and others
    • You have the right for access to healthcare services
  • Respects
    • You should respect individual and community rights
  • Responsibilities
    • Every individual has responsibilities towards self, family, and community
    • You have responsibility to achieve self potential and development
    • You also have responsibility to avoid self-destruction such as unwanted pregnancies, induced abortion and sexually transmitted infections


How do the 3R of sexuality link together?

Before an individual’s sexual RIGHTS can be RESPECTED by others, he/she must first indicate that he/she is RESPONSIBLE enough towards his/her own self, family and community.

  • Example: It is considered a RESPONSIBLE act to commit oneself into a marriage before exercising his/her individual sexual RIGHTS. This commitment is a symbol of RESPECT that the couple have for each other

It is your RESPONSIBILITY to RESPECT the collective RIGHTS of the community.

  • Example: You might feel that it is your individual RIGHT to dress as you wish. However it is the collective RIGHTS of your community to expect appropriate and proper dressing from everyone. Therefore as a RESPONSIBLE person who RESPECTS others, you should not be wearing indecent clothing at public places.


What is sexual health and behavior?

Sexual health is not just about having sexual relationships.

  • It is a broad concept, involving one’s physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing, such as having:
    • A healthy body
    • A healthy mind / good mental health
    • A healthy community
  • Healthy sexual health enriches and enhances:
    • Personality
    • Communication
    • Love and relationships
    • Family planning
    • Wellbeing

Sexual feelings

  • Sexual arousal involves one of more stages of sexual responses
  • Usually also involves feelings of attraction towards another person
  • May be followed by fantasies of sexual activities
  • This is normal, but if it causes distress, do seek help from a professional. E.g. counselors, psychologists, doctors. See self-awareness


What are sexual organs?

Sexual organs are breasts and genitalia.

  • Male genitalia – penis, testicles or testes
  • Female genitalia – vagina, labia minora and labia majora, clitoris

Male genitalia

External view

Internal view

Female genitalia

External view

Internal view

Disclaimer: In the following pages of this document, sex is taken to mean vaginal sexual intercourse.

What is sex?

Sex usually means performing sexual activities. Sexual activities involve stimulating sexual feelings by:

  • Touch – e.g. stroking, hugging
  • Stimulation of sexual organ – e.g. touching of genitals
  • Oral stimulation – e.g. kissing
  • Body movement – e.g. sexy dance
  • Words – e.g. sexy talk, phone sex
  • Physical intercourse – includes penetration of the penis
    • Vaginal
    • Anal
    • Oral
  • Sex normally refers to vaginal intercourse where the penis is inserted into the vagina


General concept of sex

  • A natural drive for reproduction (to start a family)
  • Basic attraction to the opposite sex that forms part of intimate relationships
  • Private feelings – sexual attraction usually shared between intimate partners
  • People may not be comfortable discussing it in public
  • All religion in Malaysia, do not allow sex out of marriage because it is deemed to be irresponsible

 Are there any risks in sexual activities?


Engaging in sexual activities may lead to risky consequences:

Physical / Medical


  • Emotional attachment to partner
  • Addiction to sex / pornography
  • Guilt / self-hate
  • Shame
  • Self-destructive behavior due to guilt


  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual abuse / sexual assault
  • Molestation
  • Penetration
  • Rape
  • Prejudice and negative social stigma – e.g. labeled as outcast


Why is sexual health important?

It can prevent potentially unhealthy situations such as:

It can enhance your quality of life by improving:

  • Self-esteem
  • Communication
  • Relationship with your family, friends, loved ones and others


Am I a sexually healthy teen?

Yes, if you have the following characteristics. See The relationship of a sexually healthy teens.


Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Nik Rubiah bt. Nik Abd. Rashid
Cik Lim Siow Yen
Reviewer : Dr. Nazrila Hairizan bt. Nasir