Sexual wellness matters for women, and Gen Z knows it: study

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In a time when women are encouraged to prioritize self-care, new research finds there is one crucial piece of the puzzle being overlooked because of social stigma: sexual wellness. 

Ninety-three per cent of Canadian women don’t understand what sexual wellness is or how to add it to their self-care routines, according to a new national survey conducted by Shoppers Drug Mart, shared with Now Toronto.

The working definition of sexual wellness used in the survey is “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality.” Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. 


Just over half of Canadian women are unaware or misinformed about the health benefits of sexual stimulation.

The survey also found 32 per cent of Ontario women believe there are no benefits to sexual wellness. 

The study, however, says this is not the case. There are many benefits to understanding and implementing sexual wellness into your routine, including increased blood flow, stress reduction, and improved sleep.

Less than one in ten Canadian women have a full understanding of what ‘sexual wellness’ is, with almost two out five women being unable or unwilling to define the term. 

Of the Ontario respondents, 41 per cent were unable or unwilling to define sexual wellness.


Canadian women are five times more likely to feel uncomfortable discussing their sexual wellness compared to physical wellness, even with close friends in private, according to the survey. 

Although 80 per cent of those in committed relationships agree that sexual wellness should be discussed as openly as any other type of wellness, only one in five report having actually discussed sexual wellness over the past year with their romantic partner.


The good news is, it appears the younger generation is more aware of its importance. 

Generation Z members (those born in the mid 1990s to early 2010s) are almost twice as likely as Boomers (mid 1940s to mid 1960s) to view sexual wellness as important to both physical and mental health (57 per cent versus 34 per cent, respectively).

The same age group was also found to be most likely to have discussed sexual wellness with a friend (27 per cent) and their romantic partner (23 per cent).

The younger a respondent was, the more likely they were to agree that people should be able to discuss sexual wellness as openly as any other form of wellness. 

When asked if sexual wellness should be discussed openly, almost 60 per cent of Gen Z respondents said yes, compared to only 38 per cent of Boomers

The online survey conducted by Proof Strategies Inc. polled 1,000 Canadian women aged 20 and over from Dec. 6-12, 2022. There is no margin of error for this non-probability sample, but a probability-based sample of this size would have a margin of error of plus or mins 3.1 per cent, with 95 per cent confidence.

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