Ishita Choudery started the the YP Foundation to fill the a political gap in India – ensuring that young people get heard when it comes to policy decision about their sexuality, political rights and right to information (amongst other things).
They have done heaps to get young people recognised as valid political partners in decisions about their futures and have worked with 300,000 young people since 2002.
And the reason we love them is because they lobby for comprehensive sex education in India with their “know your body know your rights” campaign.
And then we love them more but they don’t shy away from discussions of pleasure and use our Pleasure Project materials to stimulate discussions. We were fishing a bit (just a little) so we asked them why.
Istita says they used our promising practises in safer sex posters to “start conversations about pleasure and whether it is a right” . She says that the images do not make young people feel uncomfortable, as might be expected, and it also helps start a discussion about consent and what is your own personal “line of consent“.
So this got us talking about how sexy consent is. How the best thing you can hear from a romantic or sexual partner is “I want to” or “please do”.
Because (as all the pleasurists know) having safer sex is not just about condoms but about making sure you are doing what your partner wants, what makes them feel good and vice versa. And rather than thinking our partners should automatically know what we want; it would turn them on to tell them.
As we concluded girls are not meant to ask for what they want; but boy, do men like it when they do. As Ishita said “it is sometimes easier to have sex rather than talk” and I added that this plays into our romantic myths of “you must know me and therefore I should not tell you what I want”.
So how do we start to learn to ask and see consent as sexy as it is ? The YP Foundation start with body mapping exercises and let people know the facts. For example the clitoris is not between the toes (as they found some people thought in one workshop ). They then have conversations of what people like and don’t like and what might be their “line of consent”
And they found some surprising twists: it is often assumed that the middle class urban young people of India are better informed about sex with their i -phones and internet connectivity. Not so, not so; rural young people have more time for sex and talking about sex and so surprised them with their lack of conservatism. They have more imaginative ideas about sexuality.
So that’s why YP Foundation rocks. Actually speaking as and for young people and telling us things we did not expect.