Hey Pleasure Seekers!

The Pleasure Project caught up with MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Georgia Arnold in August over in Camden in London. We had a great pleasure and safe sex convo and wanted to tell you all about it !

MTV Staying Alive Foundation Safe Sex Show

MTV Staying Alive Foundation Safe Sex Show

Have you heard of Shuga? Well, if you haven’t, it is a TV soap opera that first aired in Kenya on November 2009 on MTV Base. Set in bars and nightclubs, it spreads the message to youths about safe sex and tolerance, highlighting issues of HIV and teen pregnancy. It also touches on maternal and child health, family planning, gender-based violence, and women empowerment. Safe sex delivered to youths in a sexy way, for sure! It is now going on its ninth season and have a Nigerian one too (Shuga Naija)… So check it out at mtvshuga.com/.

Condom Emoji Promotion by MTV Staying Alive Foundation

Condom Emoji Promotion by MTV Staying Alive Foundation

Also, a must to check out is the Make Your Foreplay a Threesome emoji commercial. Definitely, by far, one of the most engaging condom promotion commercials we have seen in a while. And we have seen a few….[and fell asleep to some]

Thank you to MTV Staying Alive Foundation. We have some potential Global Mapping updates and a release on their foundations newsletter that we will keep you posted on. WE are super EXCITED !

Stay sexy ! we say.

 

 

guerrilla-girl-1953Pleasure crusaders,

We are back in the news! Gemma Newby published, “The Pleasure Project Eyes Risky Behavior”, for Newsdeeply.com on June 2nd, 2016. In it, TPP’s self-proclaimed ‘guerrilla girls,’ Anne Philpott and Arushi Singh, are highlighted as the “thorn in the side of the HIV community… who go around putting posters up at AIDS conferences.” [But, as Anne emphasizes, without really talking about what sex is all about – pleasure – the public health community wastes its resources in sex education by not “meeting people’s needs.”

 

In the question and answer, Anne explains how TPP was started and how evidence backs linking pleasure with safe sex. Regarding the evidence, Anne describes that if people are comfortable with their bodies, if they’re comfortable with their sexuality, if they’re able to discuss sex, then they have a better sexual self-esteem, and that means they know what they want and don’t want and are much more likely to practice safer sex.” Arushi adds the comparison often made between Dutch and American teenagers; that evidence shows that the Dutch are often “more confident and in control of their bodies,” so they tend to be more interested in safer sex and condom use than American teens.

On top of explaining how TPP overcomes the taboo of talking about sex and pleasure in the developing world and how we should highlight masturbation and agency over our bodies when talking ‘safe sex’, Arushi defines ‘pleasure propagandists’ as somebody who urges public health professionals to use a pleasure-based approach and use sex-positive messaging. She emphasizes that the current focus of ‘fear’ and ‘risk’ of disease and death in sex education, does very little in addressing why people have sex. Arushi also explains that a key reason why TPP advocates for this pleasure approach is to “perhaps enable [girls] to delay that first pregnancy, or to ask for contraceptive use with her husband, or even say no to that marriage.”

The Q+A is summed up by Arushi announcing that “Pleasure is not a luxury” and that it is a global right, specifically for women. She explains that “if you look at gender norms and sexuality norms, they are all about controlling you and not letting you be in control of yourselves, whether we are looking at gender transformative approaches, trying to challenge the norms around sexuality, or preventing child marriage.”

An excellent article! Check it out in full at https://www.newsdeeply.com/womenandgirls/the-pleasure-project-eyes-risky-behavior/ and stay sexy.

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Dear Pleasure Promoters,

As the AIDS Conference unfurls in South Africa, AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) updates tell us that Day 3’s focus was on women and how they, particularly girls aged 15-24, are burdened most by HIV. A session called  New Evidence: Why Do Young Women in Africa Have High Rates of HIV Infection? presented the results of a study conducted  in a South African community showed young women [16–24 years old] are acquiring HIV from men averaging 11 years older than them. Then, once over the age of 24 and with partners closer to their age, they can end up transmitting the virus to their spouse (men aged 23-35) leading to a cycle of transmission in South Africa.

After the New Evidence session, a speaker pointed out, “We heard all about vaginas. But vaginas are attached to people…”  during a session on women’s rights and health. [NB:  did they need a randomised control trial to get to that ?] Concluding that it is important to use the study’s findings to discover sexual behaviours, particularly of younger women, determine how best to end this cycle, and simultaneously treat them despite the barriers they face in access to treatment.

So, what are we taking from the early days of this conference… Addressing women’s health and rights, particularly young women, remains a key component to prevention if we want to reduce HIV transmission.

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TPP argues that addressing pleasure in safe sex and women’s right to pleasure empowers their ability to discuss and use condoms to help stop HIV transmission.  We think empowerments ultimate indicator is the ability to know and they ask for what you know will give you pleasure. So, we hope that the AIDS Conference considers pleasure in its discussions around innovations in BCC and sex education.

Hey Pleasure Advocates!

TPP female condom postcard

TPP female condom postcard

We were featured on Daily Maverick’s Health-e News article on June 20th called Placing Pleasure at the Heart of Safe Sex, as news continues to spillover from the advocacy we did at the 2016 Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen. The article highlights the work we do and how we make talking about safe sex pleasurable through eroticizing the messaging rather than the fall-back fear tactics. It goes on to mention our work with the pleasure industry to bridge the gap between the public health community and the erotic corporate world.

But then, it goes on to advocate that our pleasure approach be used in South Africa to encourage female condom use among youths, particularly girls. The article mentions that only 7% of 15 year old girls already having sex use female condoms though 78% know about them. In answer to this, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, the South African health minister, suggests, “the department needs to change the way condoms are ‘pitched’ to young people – having a more effective, youth-oriented sexual education approach.”

The article ends with the suggestion that the minister should check out TPP’s “bag of sex toy tricks for ideas on how to spread the pleasure message.” We say… Feel free Dr. Motsoaledi! That’s what we’re here for <3

Gorgeous pleasure seekers,

Arushi adds some points of interest to the women's loo

Our Pleasure presentation facilitated by fabulously sensual Arushi Singh (seen above with one of our Pleasure posters) during the 2016 Women Deliver Global Conference was a hit and got the point across, according to the Health E-News feature called “Placing Pleasure at the Heart of Safe Sex” written by Kyla Herrmannesen and published on June 20th, 2016. The article explained how Arushi tantalized the audience with this introduction of the female condom, “I want to talk about this sex toy. It’s this great sex toy.”

The article speaks straight to our heart.

‘What would happen if pleasure was given a prominent platform – as a pulling power to increase condom usage? The pleasure approach requires a re-branding of male and female condoms, removing the mindset that they’re a necessary evil and a hindrance to sexual desire, replacing it with sex-positive language that paints condoms as pleasure enhancers.’

The article introduced the Pleasure Project and our objective to bring the sexy back into sex education to more successfully engage people on safe sex. It also provided a link to Anne’s journal published in Reproductive Health Matters on “Pleasure and Prevention: When good sex is safe sex.” It went on to suggest that South Africa needs to ‘reformulate its approach’ to sex education and condom promotion since HIV rates remain high and female condom usage remains low. The article encapsulated what we advocate for when it said that “The pleasure-approach requires a re-branding of male and female condoms, removing the mindset that they’re a necessary evil and a hindrance to sexual desire, replacing it with sex-positive language that paints condoms as pleasure-enhancers.”

It ended with a bang with its reasoning for a pleasure-based approach by using out favourite example of safe sex and condom use by providing the example of Senegal. It explained how the noise made by bine-bine beads (belly beads worn by women to suggest to her partner that she is ready for sex in some African countries) were equated to the use of female condoms by Senegal’s Society for Women and AIDS (SWAA). This led to “the noise made by the condom [being] considered evocative and [resulting in] the female condom gaining positive connotations as an erotic tool.” It encourgaed South Africa to adopt a more pleasurable approach to sex education and safe sex marketing.

As an amazing promotion of the pleasure approach, check out the full article by going to the following link, https://www.health-e.org.za/2016/06/20/placing-pleasure-heart-safe-sex/.

 

Hey Pleasure Explorers!

As some of you may know, it was World Population Day on July 11th. To mark the day, the All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Population, Development and Reproductive Health [ i.e. very important people]  held their annual World Population Day reception co-hosted with IPPF . It was a remarkable evening event with the Baroness Jenny Tonge (Chair of UK APPG on PDRH) chairing the event and a speaker line -up including the Rt Hon. Nick Hurd MP, Tewodros Melesse (Dir. General of IPPF), Dr. Lama Mouakea (Exec. Dir. of Syrian FP Association – SFPA), and Dr. Volker Sydow (Global Dir. of Sexual Wellbeing for Durex). Interesting combination. And it was all held just by the Thames..

Introductions by Baroness Tonge

Introductions by Baroness Tonge

What was the take home from the event? Well, more now than ever it is important that we engage and advocate for youths, particularly girls, to have access to sexuality education and sex reproductive health services since they make up more than 50% of the world’s population. HIV also remains the 2nd biggest disease burden for young girls in sub-Saharan Africa, which, as we know, has long term impacts on their health, capacity to be active members of their community and general economy, and the wellness of their families.

Dr. Mouakea from SFPA reminded us that just because there is a war in Syria, does not mean that people stop having sex and it is any less important to deliver services. She said, “Ensuring people still in the country are getting FP services cause we know that it save lives.” She recounted some stories from the ground that we don’t get to hear in the media and reminded us just how much sex and sexual health are still an issue and should not get ignored or lost in war and its politics.

Dr. Lama Mouakea, Executive Director, the Syrian Family Planning Association

Dr. Lama Mouakea, Executive Director, the Syrian Family Planning Association

In introducing Dr. Volker Sydow from Durex, Baroness Jenny Tonge recounted a story from when she was a nurse in training and had visited a Durex condom factory by saying, “It is better than visiting Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory.”

Dr. Volker Sydow, Global Director, Sexual Wellbeing, Durex

Dr. Volker Sydow, Global Director, Sexual Wellbeing, Durex

Dr. Sydow reminded us that though being a private corporate company, Durex sees their responsibility to support safe sex worldwide as 14 billion sex acts are not protected each day [that seems ALOT did we hear that right pleasure explorers, thats a lot of sex] . As he said, Durex sees that ensuring safe sex helps to “Empower young women and girls to live sexual and positive lives.” He also said how important it is to talk to youths and get them to create the messaging with global expertise in SRH.

The Pleasure Project was there to schmooze with the big wigs from IPPF, Durex, Marie Stopes, SFPA, Plan and all the other top notch SRH global players that were in attendance, and advocate for a pleasure-approach when talking sex health. This is particularly true since the take-home message of the event was that sex and health are tightly bound and young people, particularly girls, need to be targeted for sex education and SRH services.

As Dr. Sydow from Durex said, “Young people will be much more likely able to benefit from safe sex.” And, we agree! So, what better way to get the young to practice safe sex than by talking about it with them the way they do when they’re talking about it with their friends or swapping stories on a sexy music video or porn clip they had seen?

Let’s start making safe sex sexy!

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