Transcultural Sexual Health (TSH) can be operationally defined as
‘The changes that may happen to an individual’s own cultural traits about sexuality (sexual beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviour), when continuously exposed to a new culture or multiple cultures’. - Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan (2011)
Sexuality is well regarded as a core aspect of being human and it is strongly influenced by the socio-cultural norms, beliefs, attitudes and values. There is growing body of evidence to demonstrate the impacts of acculturation on sexual attitudes and behaviours among migrants. Lack of knowledge, cultural ambiguity, conflict in cultural beliefs, values and practices, and an individual’s coping strategy to adjust and live in a changing/new socio-cultural system could all impact on all aspects of life including that of sexuality and sexual health.
The phenomenon of TSH can be applied in a country with a mainstream society that is culturally diverse yet unified by a common blended culture (e.g. Australia, Canada) or in a country (at least the metro regions) that is undergoing rapid westernisation (e.g. India, China).
Dr Ramanathan’s PhD research is specifically on this topic and has a strong interest to develop this as a new field of study, practice and research within sexual health.
The prime focus of many websites related to sexual health is about problem, dysfunction or disorder and its management. Often, it is hard to access information about the positive aspects of sexuality such as the pleasure, bonding and intimacy and how these could be vital to the happiness of an individual and/or a couple.
Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan has a special interest in gaining understanding of Positive Psychology and Sexuality and examine how it could applied in a sexual health setting to help people achieve happiness through sexuality.
Positive psychology is the scientific study of what enables individuals and communities to thrive.
Dr Seligman's (2003) theory asserts there are three roads to the good life (or positive mental health and wellbeing):
- The Pleasurable Life (Positive Emotions)
- The Engaged Life (Flow and Mindfulness)
- The Meaningful Life (Meaning and Purpose).
The guru of Positive Psychology, Dr Martin Seligman's website link is provided below -
A website about scientific study of happiness.
The Indian Association for Health, Research and Welfare (IAHRW) offers information on positive psychology contextualised to the Indian setting. The website is primarily for academics but there are valid resources for consumers as well.
Indian Association for Health, Research and Welfare