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no pleasure ?

wot no pleasure ?

pleasure quote twoHi Pleasure Seekers,

The Pleasure Project is at the International Conference of Family Planning#ICFP16 in Indonesia, searching out the pleasure in Family Planning….In fact we tried to have a session there and got turned down. [Teeth grind]

So really we are frankly a bit disapointed. There is not much. But we have had a really good look, there are some of fellow pleasure seekers out there.

But out of all of the 1000’s of presentations, maybe 10,000 in all there are only 10 that mention pleasure at all…. thats like 0.00001 % right ?

There are a couple that the NGO Simavi @SimaviNL who have been working Jharkand, India will present on. It sounds exciting, Loan Liem and colleagues created sex education that included pleasure and found that young men liked it…Also the Family Planning Association of India, in Uttar Pradesh [number 1152] have been delivering sex positive sex education. Its awesome and impressive.

Aa couple of presentations highlight the myths that surround how contraception will affect pleasure, or doesn’t address how they might affect the pleasure in sex. For example a study in Zambia [#1652] addresses myths about diaphragm use and pleasure, whereas in Uganda [#336]one study found that many people believed injectable contraception would remove the pleasure in sex.

Ayo Adebowele also found in Ibadan in their study [401] that men beleive vasectomy also cuts the pleasure in good safe sex……

lastly most presentations that actualy mention pleasure, which for us is a huge step forward. However most of the research studies focus on how contraception does not affect pleasure…..but we say maybe planning INCREASES pleasure, or could increase pleasure more…So rather than worrying about family planning being a dent on pleasure we should celebrate good safe sex..because #pleasure matters

Done your planning ? Now time for pleasure, but there is a way to go yet..

our poster at ICFP 2016












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Last week in Delhi there was an international conference that urged the world to measure progress not as a reduction in bad things (poverty, illness, death) but an increase in good things (happiness, satisfaction, well being). The rather unexciting conference title 4th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy had lots of more exciting speakers and topics; how to measure women’s empowerment or well nurtured children and what should the future global development be.

Bhutan is leading the world in their own use of a Gross National Happiness Index which has been used as the goal in national planning; so rather than make decisions based on gross domestic product or income levels they have been making plans with the goal of enhanced national happiness, satisfaction and well-being. It’s  wonderful to hear about a government making decisions based on well-being instead of economic growth. The World Happiness Report highlights that whilstU.S. GNP per capita has risen by a factor of three since 1960, while measures of average happiness have remained essentially unchanged over the half-century.

Of course the challenge is measuring it. Death is a fairly uniform  event to measure across countries. Happiness ..a little more subjective. However that has not stopped the people at the ‘Better Life Initiative’ from giving it a go. Using a survey across countries came up with the the usual suspects in the top three; Denmark, Norway and Switzerland on ‘life satisfaction’.  Switzerland also came number one on ‘health’ however this is only measured by life expectancy.

But it got our little brains at The Pleasure Project thinking big thoughts. If all these large thinkers are talking seriously about measuring life satisfaction – should they not be able thinking about pleasure. Couldn’t a new measure of sexual health be safe sexual satisfaction. After all the point is not just to have sex and not get a disease whilst doing it – but ALSO ENJOY yourself.

We have made this point once before…when we said ‘“I would love to see women’s enjoyment of pleasure, ability to articulate and ask for what they want sexually be a standard indicator for empowerment. I would also love the correlation or causal relationship between other empowerment indicators (ability to speak up, vote, leave the house etc.) and enjoyment of sex to be tested. I will die a happy woman when The World Bank starts using it as a standard this report on the ‘intimate connection’ between sexuality and empowerment.

Andrea Cornwall makes it better when she highlights what transformational change means for women beyond standard indicators of economic development.

So maybe its not such a far off goal after all. The problem will of course be how to measure pleasure..’ Was it good for you?’  just won’t do.

Tank girl would probably score high on pleasure measures



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Sex has been eradicated from the conference, it’s almost as if it’s an airborne disease”

Okay so when we said that to WAMU radio we were feeling kinda blue and bio-medicalised out. They interviewed us after our satellite session to launch “Everything you ever wanted to know about pleasurable safer sex but were afraid to ask” . Also Facebook closed us out for three days for putting up one of our postcards : so we got a slap on the wrist for that ( free postcard for whoever guesses which one it was ) . Next time we will shut down. I’ll be careful but sign up for our mailing list he and for blog alerts here…

But after initial dismay at the lack of any discussions of condoms, safer sex or just good old fashioned sex in the first couple of days we started to cheer up because of the growing band of pleasure promoters  at aids conferences. We ain’t the single issue solo loonies anymore.


It kicked off with The Pleasure Project Hosted satellite at 7am Tuesday morning ….and people came ! Unbelievable and amazing. We didn’t go easy

on our audience with a sexy safe condom demo (7:05 am ) and then launched the evidence review “everything you ever wanted….”  by posing questions particularly suited to that time of the morning such as ” is sex rational?” ” what is sexual pleasure?” and ” do positive attitudes to sex correspond to positive attitudes to safer sex ? “. Read it for the quick and dirty and more considered answers.

Next up Dr Scott Shelton blew our minds talking about the evidence she has analyzed and how it shows that making your sex education programmes and materials a turn on means people have more safer sex. So not only is it appealing but it works. We knew that but it we needed to see those randomised control trials prove it. See question 15 in the review for more on her research.

Next up was DKT International who last year sold 650 million condoms in 18 countries and  kinda know a thing or two about good safe sex. Chris Purdy and Daniel Marun spoke about how they do this globally  We especially….. Like the moped ad…. You’ll see…..  What we mean about dotted….. Hello Fiesta Ribbed. All those presentations are here with the session description.

Ttitsi Masvaware  from the University of Columbia in New York has been focusing her research on  young southern African women and asking them why they have sex. And hello. They are not just saying that they are forced or raped or trafficked. Despite what most of the development literature tells you. They schedule it in. They want pleasure. As she said ” she told me that she had him....” read her talk Masvawure TB Pleasure Project Satellite IAS 2012 copy and see question 2 for more on her brilliant research that shows young women can be  ‘active lust seekers”.

And lastly but not least and the best titled talk at the conference by Professor Gary Dowsett and socked  it to us with the ‘choreography of sex’, the improvisation in sex, the messiness of sex, the skills of sex , the joy of it and all of it they we don’t usually hear at AIDS conferences…read it here Dowsett presentation

The questions afterwards were great with some  criticism of the images used to sexy up safer sex (more on that later because it deserves it own blog)

But what has been phenomenal is the number of other sessions at this conference on pleasure. We are normally the pleasure cultists, not any more.
The American health care foundation had a “making safer sex sexy” satilite where we heard on their campaign to get condoms into porn . We loved the presentation by from NYC condoms and their health department.  “ NYC will be awash with condoms and it’s river will run with lube” on how to saturate your city with condoms (and an app to find them whenever you need em!) and the chair thrilled us with her description of how she put her knowledge of cherry stem rolling in mouth to special use these days with a condom.

Other pleasure awards go to the IPPF youth group for their pleasure session on Thursday and keeping the pleasure flag flying with happy healthy ‘n’ hot. Some great questions and conversations “ how can you learn to flirt ? ” let’s remind ourselves that 48 % of new infections are in young people under 25 currently and we need to talk about safer sex and sexual skills for young people ALOT MORE . And another gripe there are just not enough of them at conferences presenting, sharing experiences and keeping the rest of us a bit more real. IPPF thrilled us with another condom controversy session on Sunday (with us and DKT) interjecting on erotic condoms which was standing room only. Go IPPF . You rock.

And another session I attended in the global village had interesting ways to start the pleasure conversation in the transgender community in Thailand. What I loved was that they did a pretend telephone call, as if a client was calling in and showed how they bring pleasurable safer sex into the conversation and talk anatomy and other sexy bits. How many chairs of sessions are brave enough to do that and lovely to see practical and tactical sex education at play.

So that’s a pleasure round up for now and it tales us up to Thursday at AIDS 2012 (there is more my active pleasure seekers)  and I have not even got to female condoms, the unsung hero of sexual health and some more pleasure awards he at aids 2012 .

You’ll just have to enjoy the delayed gratification…

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to know about pleasurable safer sex but were afraid to ask..

Is the topic that The Pleasure Project is tackling at AIDS 2012 in Washington conference next week. We have trawled the literature (just for you) to answer 20 question about pleasure, sex and health and it’s here all here..  Everything you ever wanted to know about pleasurable safer sex but were afraid to ask .

We are launching it at the  global AIDS conference in the USA next week (and in India later). It collects together global eviodence to answer tricky questions such as ‘ How long does it take to learn safer sex skills?’

If you are at AIDS 2012 come and hear some of the experts in sexuality and eroticising safer sex speak about the evidence at our Pleasureat 2012 Satilite or learn how to improve your sexy safer skills at our workshop. We are organizing event with DKT International, one of the world’s largest condom social marketing organisations and pleasure promoters .We are grateful to the Institure of Development Studies at University of Sussex who funded the evidence review.


We will also launch it in Delhi on the 28th July with the YP Foundation.

Here are more details of what we are up to next week in our poster TPP AIDS_Poster_v2.with support. pdf..and the link to our  facebook event page.

See you there … keep thinking of the tricky questions..





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Well this international Women’s Day we at The Pleasure Project  hunted for some feminist slogans on pleasure.

We also looked for some slogans on indulging our desires on International Women’s Day and enjoying ourselves.

We even searched to happiness and women’s day.

It’s a poor show I’m afraid.

There are loads of great posts and articles (including this rather brilliant one by zoe williams): but little very little on us women and our male comrades in the struggle being pleasured or enjoying ourselves today.

In fact we got depressed when we found a website that highlighted” pleasure and women’s day” and turned out to an international bridal search service.

Please cheer us up by sending glorious, luscious, feminist, naughty quotes.

In the meantime we have decided that we need some images of women who like sex, know what they want, have fun and  would use women’s day as an excuse to tickle themselves pink , touch themselves up, have a beer and ignore stupid advice.

We hope you do the same , Just stay safe we need you on the front line of the pleasure revolution.

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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.


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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