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!

Pleasure admirers,

Amazing news… Our Arushi Singh has been nominated and is in one of the final rounds for the Bill and Melinda Institute’s 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders!

Arushi Pleasure Goddess

 

It celebrates young champions of family planning (FP) worldwide, recognizing their work and dedication to the cause. The nominations are considered to have made significant contributions to FP in one or more of the following categories: advocacy, programming/program implementation, research, service delivery, demand generation, policy/government, or media. And, as you well know, Arushi has done nothing but champion for the right to pleasure and access for women and girls worldwide throughout much of her career.

So, “rock the vote” and let’s get her through to the next round since we all know that she deserves this honour and recognition for her unfailing commitment to the cause.

Woohoo!

Visit http://120under40.org/nominee/arushi-singh to vote for our pleasure star.

[Dash of SAS] blog

Fellow pleasure seekers,

The advocacy tooted by our pleasure propagandists, Anne and Arushi, during the 2016 Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen gets a sexy wink from the feature on the Pleasure Project  approach published on June 17th,  at the Rappler.com called “[Dash of SAS] Pleasure Points,” written by Ana P. Santos. The article rounds out how the pleasure approach addresses the reason people have sex to begin with – pleasure – and the need to link safe sex and pleasure in order for people to practice safer sex.

The article hits off by staying  the public health world is failing to reach many of the 1.8 million adolescents worldwide

“Maternal disorders were the leading cause of death in young women in 2013, killing an estimated 11.5% in girls aged 15-19. In Africa, AIDS-related complications is a major cause of death among adolescent girls.”

It goes on to promote a pleasure approach to close the gap and highlights TPP’s “guerrilla girl activism” that has put pleasure on the lips of the public health community and its members. It mentions the launch of our Global Mapping of Pleasure and adds in a clip of the session on “The Politics of Pleasure, Sexuality, and Human Rights.”

Rounding off the article, Ana Santos also encourages us to talk about pleasure where the public health community is often afraid to, by quoting this pleasure explorer,

“I was a victim of female genital mutilation (FGM) when I was 18. After having children, I had my first orgasm when I was 21-years old. There is life and pleasure after FGM!” Yes! This woman’s experience highlights the need to address pleasure and sex for EVERY-one and, at TPP, we agree. As Anne concludes, “Our job will be done when it’s automatic to talk pleasure in sex ed and sexy safer sex in porn and erotica.”

Check out http://www.rappler.com/views/imho/136733-pleasure-points-sex-reproductive-health for the full article.

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