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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.

talk dirty to meOur very own Anne was featured in the Guardian’s “Let’s talk about sex: why do we need good sex education?” Global Development monthly podcast posted on their website on June 15th. The podcast highlighted that sex education has become more important than ever where young people make up 1.8 billion of the world’s population.

The contributors highlight that thus far, sex-talk has consisted of the biological aspects and dangers of having sex. Liz Ford, the reporter and presenter of the podcast, states “questions about whether children and young people should receive sex education… are still hotly debated the world over.”

Many of the contributors, including Anne, agreed that sex education is a lifetime process. Remy Shawa from Sonke Gender Justice relays a story in the podcast that during an AIDS conference in Cape Town, South Africa, 2013 “an older woman [stood] up and [said], ‘Look, I am interested in talking about the choices for my children but I don’t even know what to talk about because I don’t understand my own sexuality.’” It was made clear by other contributors of the podcast that this example is the same for many adults and youths alike in much of the world.

In response to how this issue can be addressed Anne, our pleasure guru, highlights that people have sex for pleasure and the public health world has got to catch up. She says, “We have to wake up to the fact that young people are now… have got access to the internet, which is a massive change from 10, 20 years ago, and I think the public health world has got its head in the sand and we might regret this in 10 years.” She goes further to say that the Pleasure Project is “really about bridging between the pleasure world and the world of public health… our mission is to ensure that people include pleasure in sex education messages; or putting the sexy into safer sex. And also putting the safe into erotic.”

We say how unsafe sex should be at the top of the agenda for governments and global institutions. Anne highlights that in a Lancet report “unsafe sex is the highest risk factor for death and disease for young women and the second highest for young men,” and we have a global responsibility to address this. Anne makes a strong statement when she says that the World Bank ought not to “just think about increasing GDP or increasing incomes but thinking about, for what? I’ll die a happy woman when I see the World Bank actually measuring women’s pleasure or women’s wellbeing as an ultimate indicator of their investments rather than the income of populations.”

Another key point made in the podcast… It’s cheaper to educate young people on sex than it is to pay for all the impacts that come from unsafe sex. As Doortje Braeken from IPPF says, “We know from countries like Estonia where they invest in comprehensive sex education together with access to services… the abortion rate, the HIV rate, the STI rate went down. And if you then calculate it, it becomes extremely cost effective… But it’s a difficult thing to sell.”

There is a taste of this tantalizing soundbite from this well-produced and engaging podcast by the Guardian. To hear it pleasurably in full, click on the following link, http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/audio/2016/jun/15/lets-talk-about-sex-why-do-we-need-good-sex-education-podcast.

Image from Huffington Post

Image from Huffington Post

Exciting news Pleasure Propogandists…our appraoch has been singled out by the Huffington Post for a noble mention.

In the Huffington Post’s blog added June 14th, 2016, commentating on the Women Deliver 4th Global Conference in Denmark, our scintillating Anne was on point and ready for some Pleasure Project advocacy. To emphasize a key objective of the conference, educating on safe sex to youths, Anne was quoted as saying that “When we do [talk about sex]… we will protect ourselves from sexually transmitted diseases.”

The article highlights how “pleasure is the single most powerful motivating factor for sexual behavior” and how unsafe sex is the cause for HIV and other risk factors that disproportionately affect girls. Lori Sokol, the blog author, emphasizes in the piece that there are lower rates of unwanted pregnancy, abortion and STIs in Denmark than “[in] their American peers” because the “teens were more likely to have received comprehensive sexuality education that includes a focus on relationship skills that foster mutually consensual, pleasurable and responsible sex.”

The article raises how the conference also touched on the topic of early marriages or acts of sexual violence and how such experiences should not hinder us from engaging with these girls or women in “sex-positive education”. A conference panelist specialising ni  Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health WHO, Dr. Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, said in reference to this type of education in projects they run that “rather than focusing only on their ‘uptake’ of family planning… we also focused on their sexual well-being… [to] develop mutually respectful, loving relationships [between girls and their partners].”

Bringing it back to the Pleasure Project, the article ends with how our online tools “help women and organizations that are working to promote, advocate and campaign for pleasurable ways to have safer sex [and] map their progress.” Anne ends with the basic reasoning into why the Project emphasizes pleasure when talking about safer sex, “One is only so effective without including the other.”

For the full flavor of the blog, click on the following link, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-sokol/making-safe-sex-sexy_b_10456968.html.

Hi pleasure explorers!

Mara here…

IMG_1521

The new intern over at the Pleasure Project.

My experience… When we call ‘sex’ everything else other than sex, we are missing the point, particularly with the young. Sex is fun and safe sex can be erotic. This is exactly why I am working with the Pleasure Project – to learn how to refer to safe sex in a sexy, pleasurable and fun way. And to advocate for the capacity of this approach to influence behavior change, lowering teenage pregnancy rates and STI transmissions among youths.

With over 5 years of sexual reproductive health advocacy and programme development around youth engagement, engaging youths in a discussion around safe sex has been my focal point. Prior to my shift to London’s UCL as a candidate for an MSc in Global Health and Development, I worked in Zambia. First, in a small Bemba village in Northern Province where I worked at the grassroots level with adolescents. Together, we had frank and open conversations about what sex is and how to prevent pregnancy, HIV and other STIs. I learned that a lot of the misconceptions and myths about sex that exist among Zambian adolescents are the same for youths in the America and other developed countries, regardless of wealth and ethnicity.

From there, I worked for the Zambian branch of Marie Stopes International (MSI) and then a local NGO called CHAMP in youth program development and management. During my years with both, I quickly learned that Zambia and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa are eager to lower their teenage pregnancy rates and address their high burden of HIV among youths. But, at the same time, we continue to run in circles as a global health community by focusing our sex-talk on all the risks of having sex; rather than demystifying it to promote a delay in early sexual debut and making safe sex sexy to encourage behaviour change.

I am EXCITED to work with the Pleasure Project to advocate for a pleasurable approach to safe sex education. Let’s turn it up and turn them on to give our safe sex education a Luther Vandross and Barry White voice, and stop making sex a basic biology and epidemiology lesson that youths want to painfully escape from.

The 10th  International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific has just finished in Busan, Korea. On behalf of The Pleasure Project, our brave reporter Revati  hunted out mentioned of good safe sex or any mention of pleasure in sex education at the conference.

Revati is an old time pleasure propagandist who has written sexy tips, run pleasure workshops at the Colombo AIDS Conference where she diplomatically pointed out that maybe a woman’s head could be part of a pleasure body mapping. So she is well equip to seek erotic safe sex in Busan.

Here is her second  post.

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I just came out of a satellite session on Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV integration called   “Is SRH/HIV Integration serving the needs of key populations?”

There were four presenters, and two discussants. the presenters covered service provision to men who have sex with men and trans gender groups, and one was on sex workers.

One presenter – Sunita Grote from the AIDS Alliance, spoke about the need to reach young people who are affected by AIDS.  At the end of the presentation, two people were given time to speak and one of them was Milinda – from Youth LEAD. His posed a brave question asking about

Why the available services are not being youth friendly and that messages around pleasure are missing in the discourse around sex when talking to young people ?”

(three cheers for Milinda, The Pleasure Project).

The moderator of the session agreed and in his concluding remarks he said that one of the key issues from this session was the need to provide youth friendly sexual health  services including HIV services that do not forgetting that people have sex for pleasure and that sex with only an association with disease needs to stop being the focus.

For the first time in any of the sessions I attended, I heard the words sex for pleasure being mentioned.

I shall keep on hunting…

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