Sex in the News

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positive news Whoop Whoop

The most recent edition of Positive News features [ drum roll]  The Plesure Project and our forward thinking approach to Sex. In their article ‘It’s my pleasure’ they headline us and how we are pleasuring up the sex education world.

Also, they interviewed a porn star with a safe sex message, to campaigners in countries where sex is strictly taboo, and the Positive News editor Lucy Purdy asks the ‘pleasure pioneers’ why it’s time for change.

The article kicks off with our pleasure activism ‘ How can we sell everything for toothpaste to cars with sex, and yet we sell sex with fear’ and then goes on to detail how and who is promoting positive sexuality and sexual health; including Love Matters a fabulous sexy sex education website, Anton Castellanos a public health activist in Mexico and Jason Domino a porn actor and safer sex activist.

We love it.positive news 2

We as are usual being evangelical about being realistic about our sex lives, really talking and on top of that highlighting evidence that women who feel good about sex and their sexuality are more likely to be able to consent and consent to safer sex. Its a no brainer, really.

Lastly, pleasure lovers, one of  our favourite quotes.

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Just saying.

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Thanks Positive News. Onward and Upward.

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

[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.

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