Sexual privacy is my fundamental right


Dr KK Aggarwal    24 June 2018

Last year, there was a campaign “Sexual privacy is my fundamental right” with the message that doctors cannot ask “Are you married?”, unless this question relates to the illness concerned. At the most, doctors can ask “Are you active sexually?” Here is a glossary of some pertinent related terms.


Sex: Biological characteristics that define humans as female or male - based on their genitals or the biological character that distinguishes male and female from one another as expressed by their gonadal or morphological, chromosomal characteristics


Sexual: Relating to sex


Gender: The state of being male or female or third (other) gender (transgender - eunuchs) (considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)


Sexuality: The sum of a person’s sexual behaviors and tendencies; sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles and relationships. It is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors

Sexual preference: The biological sex preferred in one’s sexual partners or preference one shows by having a sexual interest in members of the same, opposite, or either sex.

Sexual orientation: Sexual attraction to person of opposite sex (heterosexuality), same sex (homosexuality - gay, lesbian) or both sexes (bisexuality). Replaces sexual preference in most contemporary uses


Gender identity: Who you are - male, female, third gender etc.

(Sexual orientation is about who you want to be with. Gender identity is about who you are).

Gender expression: The way we show our gender to the world around us (through such things as clothing, hairstyles, mannerisms etc.). 

Sexual behavior: Manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. There is solitary behavior (masturbation) involving only one individual, and there is sociosexual behavior involving more than one person (sexual intercourse)

Privacy: Right of a person (or patient) to keep his health information, including any other personal information, private and undisclosed

Confidentiality: What we do with the information that has been entrusted to us (as doctors or other concerned persons). It implies the duty of everyone entrusted with any information to keep that information private.


My: of or belonging to me 

Fundamental: Forming the base, from which everything else develops or serving as a foundation, essential


Right: Principle of freedom or entitlement, which can be legally or morally claimed


Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

Vice President CMAAO

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA

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