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Delhi is gearing up to a fantastic concert tomorrow and we are just a little bit over excited here at The Pleasure Project.

Rock for Rights will follow the city’s growing queer pride march – letting us all continue the party. It’s only two years since same sex relationships were de-criminalised in India, but since then the flourishing of queer arts and culture is obvious. Rock for Rights celebrates this with some amazing artists the Bollywood singer Rekha Bharwaj, the multi-talented Ma Faiza, The East India Company, Alisha Batth and Indian rock group Papon.

As all us pleasure seekers know learning about good safe sex is challenging the world over when sex education tends to tell you what you should NOT do and how many diseases you will get when you do IT. But trying to get good information about how to have sex you want and be safe at the same time is near impossible when the type of sex you like is illegal. Decriminalizing same sex relationships allows us to talk about sexual health in an open way.

I had a lovely chat with the marvelous Ma Faiza who will be playing her brilliant brand of sexy, uplifting electronic music tomorrow at Rock for Rights about just this. I asked her what events like Rock for Rights could do to help deliver good safe sex messages.

“Entertainment is a great platform for a social message -it reaches a more diverse audience and makes the message and the process fun”

We could agree more – after all we are all over the fun sexy safe sex message here at Pleasure Project. Traditional sex education tends to bore people and then moralise to them. But Ma says

“Access to sex education is limited in India – and especially women’s right to pleasure. Many women here don’t feel that they have the right to enjoyment – that their life and their sex life should be a journey of sufferance. That has to change.”

So roll on Ma Faiza’s set tomorrow – we love her positive attitude and think we have found a true pleasure propagandist to add to the growing ranks..

See details on how to get to Rocks for Rights and get tickets here

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To all those lucky pleasure propagandists who happen to be based in India.

Sunday will be a special evening of music for a good cause – to advance human rights and have fun.

The Pleasure Project is very pleased to be a promotional partner – and keep your eyes peeled you might get to see some images of good safe sex and get some postcards all for yourself.  Come say hi and share a sexy tip…..or two…..

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The Pleasure Project is lucky enough to be in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As well as enjoying beautiful views, delicious coffee and a variety of adventures we are most impressed by this poster we regularly see around the city.

It’s a new kind of eroticism of safer sex. Selling good safe sex as an exclusive club, with privileges. And it comes to us courtesy of the brilliant condom social marketing organisation DKT.

DKT Ethiopia provided 85 million condoms in 2010 in Ethiopia alongside other family planning methods and  provided a stonking 2.4 million “couple years of protection” in that year alone.  But their talent does not stop at the “members only” ribbed and dotted brand but stretches to include  a “sensations” brand.

Sensation condoms come in a whole ranges of tastes – including mint and cinnamon. However our personal favourite is coffee flavour and has been pleasuring the population since 2008.  Even better cafes in the city have been offering free coffee flavoured condoms with cappuccinos.

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, has amazing pavement cafes and a traditional coffee ceremony  where coffee is roasted and drunk sitting together. Every house and shop  has a small arrangement of coffee pot and cups for all of us addicts. So how refreshing to get your delicious condom in the saucer of your coffee rather than sloping off to pick one up behind the closed door of a toilet or from a late night petrol station.

Thank you Ethiopia for coffee and a new take on the coffee ritual.

Watch out soon for more blogs about DKT and their amazing good safe sex products. For starters here is the intriguing DKT Ethiopia advert for mint condoms that combines basketball and  breaking pots to the tune of a Michael Jackson song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eomsu4aoxAQ

 

The Pleasure Project gave a presentation this week at the offices of Plan International and Interact Worldwide in London, in achingly hip east London’s Shoreditch. We we very excited because these are charities that do amazing work to improve the health and quality of people’s lives globally. Also Interact Worldwide is very clear about it’s commitment through its programmes to The right to a safe and pleasurable sex life. Woo Hoo.

kissing Many other cool things happen in this neighbourhood. Madonna holds birthday parties. Kate Moss has casual drinks. Keira Knightly kisses a man in the high street. The Pleasure Project does a sexy female condom demo just off the high street.

We have to admit that we have been to Shoreditch in a pleasure propaganda capacity before – to talk to the African HIV Network about good.safe.sex.

But we had never  talked quite so dirty about female condoms there. It’s gonna to catch on and be all the rage in about 5 minutes. Watch this space.

The people gathered by Interact Worldwide were great;  interested to know more about what is a pleasure approach to sex education and wanting to know how to make it happen. They had some really interesting questions;

  • how to we sex up safer sex without tapping into stereotypes of women
  • how to work with faith based groups to get good safe  sex into African  church hospitals
  • how to incorporate pleasure into  campaigns about the danger of multiple sexual relationships
  • how to increase sexual skills for good sex as well as safe sex

They were all very sweet about the presentation and discussion and had this to say.

In our work on sexual and reproductive health in Africa and Asia we tend to focus so much on the prevention of disease and negative  ideas of sex and sexuality.We tend to talk about people’s right to pursue pleasurable sex but often struggle with taking this approach when we implement our programmes. Now we feel more confident being able to say not only is it people’s right, it also supports people being able to more successfully negotiate safer sex for themselves. Rutti Goldberger, Programme Advisor

A woman who can negotiate pleasurable sex can negotiate safer sex, and indeed can negotiate almost anything! So very true, and yet so very challenging to achieve in many of the contexts in which we work, but let’s keep trying! My mind is now positively whirring with ideas for collaborating and incorporating the pleasure project’s no-nonsense principles into our work on reproductive health and sex education for adolescents with our partner organisations in Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda.                     Ceri Angood, Africa Programme Manager

I was struck by the fact that the HIV world has done a far better job of including pleasure in their approach to safer sex, but this still doesn’t seem to be the case with contraception and family planning. This is definitely something that Interact wants to take forward with our partners in future. Alan Smith, COO of Interact

Others said that they liked to hear about actual examples of work where people are sexing up safer sex and want to do more to make their work with young people relevant, engaging and more mainstream.

By chance there was a big news story that day on the BBC about the views of teenagers of their sex education, which provided a good context that young people’s sex education in the UK is failing to be relevant.

A survey conducted by Brook UK, a leading UK sexual health organisation found that only a third of young people surveyed in the UK felt that their school sex education was good and 72% of those surveyed wanted more say in what is included in their sex education. British young people were also asked “where they learnt about sex ?”  and not surprisingly over a third said they learn about sex from a friend and 5% from online pornography.

It provided an apt and timely reminder that sex education tends to fail young people not only in the UK but also globally. It’s a good time to remember that pleasure is one if not the key motivation for sex for us all.

“Rail against it, repress it, and moralize it ad infinitum; nevertheless, sex will find a way.” Abramson and Pinkerton .

 

 

UK Government Safer Sex poster 2006

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Recently a number of articles have been published about more porn performers becoming HIV positive in the US. Each time it stimulates debate about condoms in porn becoming compulsory in California.

This article on the American blog The Daily Beast makes some interesting reflections. The industry has changed from the old days of a small group of performers who all knew each other and made films in California. Now people willing to travel to work – and get paid much less to work outside of America.

One performer says she is now much less likely to know the others who she works with until she meets them on set. Now we all know that knowing someone does not mean that they are HIV negative, but it does mean a smaller group of less people having sex with each other, and maybe more joint discussions and group loyalty to being safe.

The article also highlights that new technologies mean a wider less regulated labor force.

Means that many more people in lower income countries are performing for people in higher income countries. A point also made in this article recently in The UK Guardian byJill Filipovic.

So are we hearing that a globalization of the porn industry makes a more unsafe porn industry – and one in which compulsory condom use is still a distant dream ?

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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 and  run pleasure workshops.  So she is well equip to seek erotic safe sex in Busan.

Here is her third and final  post. She found someone talking about sexual pleasure as a motivation for sex.

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I’ve been at the Asia Pacific AIDS conference for a week and so far, in all the sessions I have attended, only one person has spoken about pleasure and the need to recognise pleasure as a key motivator for safe or unsafe sex and that was a question from the audience.

But hurrah. At last I found someone who confronted the elephant in the room. Dr Malonzo, from Brokenshire College in The Phillipines, please step forward and take a bow.

Dr Malonzo’s study looks at why men having sex with men choose not to us condoms, or have “intentionally condom-less sex” aka “bare-backing”. bare- backing was initially a description used in the 1990’s  by HIV positive men who declared their intention to have sex with other HIV positive men without condoms. It has now become the term used to describe condom less sex in a more generic view, regardless of HIV status. So for example, there are pornography studios who specialise in bare back films, sex workers or dating sites who use the term.  Dr Malonzo studies the current phenomenon in Davao City in The Philippines in interviews with 40 young gay men.

Many of them felt that bareback sex feels good, is their own choice and demonstrates intimacy in their relationships.

Although knowledge was not always great, quite a number of the men thought that HIV could be transmitted in the hot tub or swimming pool. But all the participants knew that condom-less anal sex carried considerable risk.

The study recommends that there should be more focus on testing and signs of HIV infection and “ Focus on the men’s desire for intimacy, closeness, and pleasure needs”

So people we need to think harder about how we can replace bare-backing with other ways of getting intimacy or feeling intimate. Unfortunately condom-less sex has become a sign of  trust, a deeper relationship or commitment.

So pleasure seekers, what could be the replacement ?


 

 

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