Vermont has the highest level of sexual health in the nation, according to a new study. The study, called Sexual Health Rankings, was conducted by the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, and by Variance, a limited liability corporation formed in New Hampshire. Results were released Jan. 2.
Sexual Health Rankings assign a score to all states and the District of Columbia using a composite index of 26 indicators. Indicators range from intuitively related factors — rates of sexually transmitted infections, teen births, and sexual violence — to farther removed indicators — proportion of seats held by women in state legislatures and the D.C. Council.
Vermont’s score was enhanced by laws on the books that give gay couples marriage equality, prevent barriers to abortion and emergency birth control access, and address bias crimes related to sexual orientation or gender identity. Vermont also has the lowest rates of AIDS diagnoses and cervical cancer, and the second lowest rates of gonorrhea and syphilis.
Other Northeastern states claimed the next five spots in the rankings — Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine. Mississippi finished 51st. Complete rankings are listed here: http://sexualhealthrankings.com/rankings/
The study relies on the World Health Organization’s definition of sexual health: “… a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. 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…”