Meetings & Publications

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Always dutiful, your faithful Pleasure Project reporter is here in Sydney attending the “Festival on the Art of Lust”.

Its a celebration of creative sexuality with artists exploring lust and sexuality. Just to add to your envy , it’s being held in a dance centre overlooking a bay in Sydney. So as I attend workshops intended to improve our sexual skills I can  gaze at the boats  zipping across the bay and glimpse the sun on the opera house.

Although good safe sex is not a focus of the conference my personal mission to talk to artists can help us deliver sex education that is sexy, appealing and accessible.

So I have to admit I started the day by being too shy to attend naked yoga. Aimed at getting you comfortable with your body. Just too much too quick for this intrepid reporter.

But I did go to two workshops both aimed at how to negotiate the type of sex or play  you want. This I hoped to be able to expand to increase safer sex.

So the day started with a workshop where half of us were blindfold and half not – the blindfolded people were encouraged to shout, push, avoid the touch they did not like. We explored through a series of gradually more daring exercises how to say no or how to accept the touch we liked. We focused on saying no in different ways. Shouting it, hitting back or escaping from it. It felt strange to touch strangers and sometimes have them tell you in no uncertain terms to leave them alone – but also respond positively. We could always use a safe word to make people leave us alone.

It’s rare that we have the opportunity to practise reacting to touch and fighting back. I imagine that women who have to deal with fairly constant sexual harassment, in many parts of the world, on public transport or other public spaces, might enjoy the chance to sharpen their reactions and the loudness of their “nos”.

There was also a workshop about “playfighting” – the kind of roll about puppy like play that we stop  as we grow up. It was surprising great fun. Again learning to let go and fight in a fun way.  We started with only our hands fighting and ended up rolling around with complete strangers giggling as we wrestled each other to the ground. And some of these Australian men are quite large and quite strong.

So all in all , it was a much more physical day than I expected, and not at all like a sexual health conference.

More from the frontline of lust, in your service, tomorrow.



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Wrapping up our stint at Jaipur Literature Festival The Pleasure Project wanted to commend three people who have won our hearts this week..

We heart Candice Bushall, author of the “Sex in the City”  novel and many others since. She is not scared to tackle sexual taboos head on in her work and I told her so.  The Pleasure Project caught up with her at the Jaipur Lit Fest.

Candace said that she felt she did not do enough and wants to do much more to discuss  good safe sex in her books. So lets watch this space. Here is a little from Sex in the City with an unusual take that does not exactly big up the pleasure but shows a novel incentive to promote condoms…

“The condom killed romance but it has made it a lot easier to get laid” said a friend. “There is something about a condom that for women makes it like sex that does not count. There’s no skin-to-skin contact so they go to bed with you more easily”

(Sex in the City, Abacus, Candice Bushall, 1999)

Just before catching Candace, The Pleasure Project’s intrepid reporter pushed her way to the front of the ecstatic crowd at the “Pulp Fiction” event to ask catch Pritham Chakravarthy. Pritham has translated hundreds of Tamil ” pulp fiction” including lots of hot sex. As she said and sex was never brought to India by any other “decadent” nation, as many are fond of stating, but is here for large audiences every day in pulp fiction.  Pritham said it is sad but true pulp fiction authors like their sexy scenes but rarely include safer sex, in fact she could not remember one from the books she translated. But as she said “we should try it!”.

But our lifetime pleasure propagandist award goes to Jerry Pinto who when talking about his new  book told an entertaining “condom moment” tale. He was talking about how his wonderful mother would torment his teenage self  by finding saucy magazines behind the toilet and teasing him. However she would also tell him to have lots of sex in college “that’s what you do there” but to use a condom every time to avoid getting a girl pregnant.

Three Cheers for Auntie Pinto !

Round of applause for Jerry, Pritham and Candace for being creative and daring – with the aim of clearly in mind. The Pleasure Project left Jaipur Literature Festival satisfied that lots of writers know how to do it right but there is still lots more potential for action.

And leaving Jaipur on the train – we saw lots of Pulp for sale…….

It was so exciting to go to performance in Delhi of  “The Vagina Monologues” performed as part of Breakthrough’s 10th anniversary this Thursday.

It reminded me of just how revolutionary it can feel to shout “cunt” and “vagina” into the open air and how little we talk about the pleasure, fear and excitement vagina’s provoke in us. It also, of course reminded me, of all the wonderful drawings we have collected for “The Great Wall of Vagina” over the years – and the two shows we have one in Delhi. At the most recent one at the Habitat centre we asked  people to add to a huge canvas which is now touring India.

in delhi

april 08!/LetsBreakthrough

The Pleasure Project has got heaps of people talking…and made it into quite a few news channels…

Here we are interviewed by AIDSChicago

and talked about on Reuters and IRIN  news

And some other people are talking about pleasure too now – the world is listening !

Young people need more pleasure

the newly proven Microbicide gels can be marketed for pleasure

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While not every session at AIDS 2010 is blog-worthy, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to catch up with Pleasure Project fans and friends, including Mike Kennedy from the Victorian AIDS Council in Australia. He gifted us with a huge (and I mean huge) calendar featuring (huge) pics of (huge) hot gay sex … just the kind of thing to hang on the office wall and impress the boss.

We’ve also hooked up with Support, the non-profit arm of the company that makes female condoms. They organized a workshop to promote female condoms to men, which included folks from Durex Condoms, MTV and BBC World Service Trust. Last night we sipped, nibbled and talked pleasure with them and others at the Viacom (i.e., parent company of MTV) party.

While not everyone at the party had heard of The Pleasure Project, when asked if they’d seen the posters about masturbation, porn during the plenary and spanking between sessions, most lit up with a spark of recognition and a cheeky grin. One more poster to go, and many more fantasies to spark. Stay tuned!

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That was the Pleasure Project’s opening line at Vienna 2010 -(the biggest global AIDS conference ever happening this week – with 25,000 people gathering from all over the world)   It was all part of our campaign to get public health people to put a bit more pleasure in their life and a bounce in their step. It seems to be working. We put up new posters all over the venue every day . . . . with suggestions about what ELSE participants might be doing besides working hard. It seems to be getting us a good reaction…….See the fantasies posted on this blog…

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