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good. safe. sex. riiThe Pleasure Project is  featured in an Indian national paper – the Indian Express today – in a piece about art and social activism to promote safer sex. We are proud to be featured alongside  a Delhi art show that depicts the joy of female orgasms  and new sexy condom campaigns in India.

In the article the three worlds of advertising, art and public health are seen as coming together to “loosen corset strings” of straight laced Indian morality to bring “discussions of safe sex, pleasure and adventure into the foreground”.

Our sexy posters and postcards are a highlight. In the words of the writer Georgina Maddox.

“The message is unmissable: safe, yet pleasurable sex”

The Sex Talk Dilemma

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ShoobhaShoobha De on sex, pleasure and how the world questions Indian womens’ right to good sex – Live from Jaipur – Asia’s leading Literature Festival

I’m here at the  Jaipur Literature Festival and today was very excited to speak to Shobhaa De.For those of you who don’t know her or live outside India…. Shobhaa is as popular as a  Bollywood star here She is, as she puts it, the author of “sari rippers” , the Indian equivalent of sexy bodice rippers, such as “Starry nights”.. She has continually broken the mold – and challenged stereotypes by writing racy sexy fiction alongside offering critiques of Indian politics. And her popularity with younger women was evidenced by the crowds of young women clamouring for autographs afterwards in Jaipur.

She drew a huge crowd on to the front lawns of the palace on this sunny day in Jaipur.  She said that “sex is dirty in India and the scariest 3 letter word in India – even more so than god” and  that people and society collude to make sure women don’t feel comfortable asking for sexual pleasure or enjoying it.  It’s a theme that we are The Pleasure Project have often discussed can we see women’s pleasure as a sign of their empowerment and an end to the expected passivity both inside their beds and outside their homes?

Willy has a beer

William Dalrymple enjoying a beer in front of the crowd trying to get Shoobha's autograph

I was lucky enough to talk to her afterwards about this. I asked her about how the development and health industry continue to view Indian women as victims, either of violence, of rape – and that is often their only view of them. I said I thought this is especially true for poor India women. Shoobha agreed  “If you are poor you can’t enjoy it and if you are rich you have to pay for it in the end”. Basically women should not enjoy sex – and if they do – they should expect bad consequences.

I told her about The Pleasure Project and what we do – put the sexy back into safer sex- and how we need people like her to include safer sex in their sexy fiction. We need her creative magic to sex up safer sex in a way health professional can’t. She agreed and said “I’ll plan on that”

So watch this space and the next Shoobha De novel for signs of condom in saucy sex. If that happens I cannot see it being too long before Bollywood shows us condoms. As Shoobha said “Sex is a bomb waiting to go off in India”

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robinpadilla_menshealthAnnie Philpott and I have what can probably be termed as “every safe sex activist’s ultimate fantasy”. This fantasy is of a hot, delectable specimen of a man subtlety promoting condoms, insinuating the pleasure that they bring.

During a conversation we had on this topic, the man who came to mind was George Clooney, Hollywood’s alpha-male and quintessential bachelor who has the distinction of being voted the sexiest man alive, more than once.

We imagined George looking his usual dapper self in a tux, pulling out what is distinctly a condom wrapper from his coat pocket. All the while, George would be looking into the camera with a knowing grin and a twinkle in his eye. There wouldn’t be a need for a lot of words – the power of the imagery would leave enough to the imagination.  In foreplay parlance, this kind of gaze could only signify “tantalizing anticipation”; a languorous scrumptious build-up to steamy action sure to ensue.
Wouldn’t this be just the thing that would make women tear their clothes off and jump into bed?

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Don't you just love a man who knows how to wear latex?

Don't you just love a man who knows how to wear latex?

When it comes to safe sex, I like to put my money where my mouth is.

Cabbages and Condoms in Bangkok is one restaurant that apparently likes to do the same.

I had read about Cabbages and Condoms and their innovative concept of a restaurant that promotes good food, safe sex and responsible family planning and just had to marvel at the balls behind the idea.

On my last trip to Bangkok, visiting the restaurant was one of the must-do’s on my list.

I was instantly entertained — tickled pink actually — by the rich imagery of this place that I can only describe as something like a condom Disneyland. Life-sized mannequins decked from head to toe in colorful condoms lined the entrance. There was a Condom Man in a superhero outfit made out of red and yellow condoms; a cool jock type with his equally cool gal pal dressed in pills and condoms. There was even a Santa Claus dressed in condoms with unfurled yellow rubbers for his beard which were also used for the evening gown of the lady standing beside him.

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The Moulin Rouge suite

The Moulin Rouge suite features lavish velvet and gold decor.

What is your deepest, most secret sexual fantasy?

Is it to have super mutant powers like the X-Men?
Or is it be a quirky spy like Austin Powers who always had enough mojo for a shag?
May be you’re the type to whom power is an aphrodisiac?
Or the amorous kind who falls to their knees with the sublime seduction of an iconically romantic place?

Whatever your fantasy, there is a place where you can live out these fantasies — as well as some choice others — with total abandon and release. (pun intended)

This place is none other than Victoria Court, a chain of uber high-end motels.

A Note on Motels

Before going any further into describing this almost mythical place where desire and fantasy come together; a word about “motels” – a word, which in itself, already has backstreet connotations.

In my city of Manila, you will see strategically tucked away in various parts of the city motel signs. When I first moved here, I began to notice the distinct difference between these motels to the ones in the States where the truckers would stay for a night to grab some sleep eye. The signs shouting out, “Special 2 hour quickie rate” should be an indication that these places are not exactly for catching some zzz’s.

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condom_dressWe all know that you’re not allowed to reuse our old condoms, right? But what a waste of perfectly good latex, just going into the landfills… why throw them away when you can turn them into condom fashion?

OK, I hope you know that I’m kidding. I’m sure that these outfits were made from new condoms… because no one likes having potential biohazards on their evening gowns (I’ll refrain from making a Monica joke here…). I also realize that this fashion show took place over two years ago; but some of the dresses are so cool that I couldn’t resist posting it now. I wonder what they could create if they threw some female condoms in the mix!

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