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Sexual health and science
  1. Sandy Goldbeck-Wood
  1. Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, London, UK and Lecturer, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare, 27 Sussex Place, London NW1 4RG, UK; goldbeckwood{at}

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It is an interesting moment for sexual health research. Sexual and reproductive health has always been high on the worldwide public health agenda, with maternal and perinatal mortality, unwanted and teenage pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) enshrined as key international indicators of population health.1 Whatever challenges face commissioners and providers,2 as outlined by Chris Wilkinson, the FSRH President, in his commentary on page 5 of this issue,3 sexual health services are needed everywhere and sex has always been a subject that commands public interest and media attention. But right now there are also developments underway in academic medicine that play to the strengths of sexual health as a specialty, and represent an opportunity for the sexual health community to make a key contribution.

Medicine’s 400-year-old system of medical knowledge is beginning to be challenged as a global model for understanding health and disease.4 ,5 Especially when it comes to complex problems such as multimorbidity and medically unexplained illness, the convenient historical fiction that body and mind are two distinct entities – each viewable as an ‘object’, with subjective experience screened out as a ‘contaminant’ – is serving us poorly.6–8 …

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