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Arushi Singh, ace Pleasure Propagandist based in Delhi and Goa, spent June in the sunny climes of Glasgow learning all there could be about good safe sex. Here is her first report home.

Ever heard of a soggy sao?

This Pleasure Propagandist got to go to a sexology conference for the first time and boy was it an incredible experience! The 20th World Congress for Sexual Health  in Glasgow, was jam-packed with sexologists, sex and relationship therapists and sex educators.

I found a sex education specialist who could well feature in the third edition of The Pleasure Project’s “The Global Mapping of Pleasure”. Dr. Lorel Mayberry runs a 14-week Sexology elective at the Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia. I was lucky enough to participate in a two-hour workshop by her where she took us through some of the teaching methods she uses with young people. One of these being the ‘Saucy Sexy Scale’.

A scale that helps people understand which sexual acts are high risk, low risk or no risk for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. It does this in the sauciest way possible – with pictures!

Now before I describe the scale to you, the story of how it was developed must be told. A group of ‘at-risk’ young people from a Brisbane Youth Centre got a $1000 grant. They spent $990 on food and alcohol and $10 on Play-Doh. Do you know how many sexual positions you can create with Play-Doh?! That’s what they did – they used the Play-Doh to make little, colourful people in all kinds of sexy positions, including golden showers and a soggy sao ! A friend of theirs took photographs of each position and voila! They had postcards, each with a saucy sexy act on it with the Play-Doh figures getting it on and the description written behind. So you get to discuss each of the positions and sex acts, learn about new ones you never knew of and place them on a scale from no, low, medium to high risk – so you know how to be safe too.

Play Doh will never look the same to me . Maybe they inspired this play doh porn – looks pretty safe to us..

Arushi Singh, Pleasure Propagandist based in Delhi and Goa, India has been working with The Pleasure Project for the past few years in a number of ways, training young people to sexy up their sex education in the UK, doing pleasure body mapping at the Bali Global AIDS conference and encouraging all to draw on our Great Wall of Vagina in Delhi. She attended the World Association of Sexual Health in Glasgow and we asked her to write about it for us…..more coming later this week

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The Pleasure Project has been featured in a special Supplement of Health Research Policy and Systems published yesterday.

We are naturally quite pleased with ourselves. Our article “Strange bedfellows: bridging the worlds of academia, public health and the sex industry to improve sexual health outcomes” is part of a series that discuss how get sexual  health  research into policy and practice.  After all, research that gathers dust on the shelf will not help us tackle HIV and  sexually transmitted diseases.

We talk about  how walk a thin line to build bridges between the health industry, academia and the pleasure industry to promote good safe sex. How we have featured in very diverse media, from Playboy to the Washington  Post. How we have spoken at the Royal Society of Medicine and been nominated for an Erotic Oscar by the UK Sexual Freedom Coalition.

Our fabulous Wendy Knerr speaks here at a Liverpool conference with the awesome title “Sex sells everything from cars to toothpaste..could it also sell safer sex and empowerment”.  Her presentation led to the writing of this article about our communications methods and our successes and challenges in bridging these very different worlds. How people assume  many things about our work;  like erotic images are always harmful to women, poor people are never interested in sex, women cannot be agents of their own desires and sexy images, pleasure or erotica is not worthy of serious research.

The article also is a little bit of self interrogation – because despite all this resistance  have we have managed to appeal to a wide audience –  “The Global Mapping of Pleasure” had been dowloaded 20,000 times and we get around 5000 unique visitors a month to our website.

The rest of the articles are an interesting exploration of how researchers have had a real life impact – from expanding public spaces where sexual minorities can talk together in Bangladesh to improvements in HIV treatment outcomes in Ghana.



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PAF085000011In the latest of the never-ending series of news articles about what women want, why they have sex, and what they want to get out of it, Newsweek brings us this jewel describing the findings of a new book Why Women Have Sex. Let’s just say that I hope the book is more insightful than the article.

The article describes how women have sex, believe it or not, for many different reasons. Unlike the stereotype that women have sex for love while men have sex for pleasure, the study authors found that women’s reasons for having sex were “complex”. But, not to worry, sexual pleasure still ranks at the top:

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IUSSPI have to apologize for the paucity of blog posts this week – I’ve been attending the IUSSP International Population Conference. While there is lots of talk of sex, and one might argue that, in fact, sex is one of the key factors influencing population (haha), the act of sex, desires, pleasures, and the like have had scant mention.

On the other hand, euphemisms for sex abound. I was at a presentation earlier in which “coital dilution” was discussed. Coital dilution? Let’s consult the dictionary: sexual intercourse + adding a solvent to lower concentration. What on earth could they have been talking about? In fact, the presenter was referring to the fact that in polygynous relationships, a wife will have sex less, on average, than in a monogamous relationship. The hypothesis was that the man would have the same frequency of sex, whether monogamous or polygynous, only the sex would be spread, or diluted, between the wives. (Maybe “diffusion” would be a better term?) Hm.

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GuttmacherIn the latest issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, a quarterly journal pubished by the Guttmacher Institute, there are two articles that focus on the role of pleasure and arousal in safer sex behaviors.

One, “Women’s Experiences with Anal Sex: Motivations and Implications for STD Prevention,” found that women in the study often engaged in anal sex out of a desire to pleasure their partners or increase intimacy in their relationships. When women perceived condoms as decreasing pleasure, they were much less likely to use them for anal sex. The authors conclude that more work should be done to find ways of promoting safe and pleasurable sex.

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VA WOW CondomMaybe you’ve heard about the legendary “C-V Distance”? No, this has nothing to do with your resume, your level of physical fitness, or probability and statistics. This time it’s the distance between a woman’s clitoris and her vagina.

Back in February, Kim Wallen, a professor at Emory University, reanalyzed measurement data of women and discovered a correlation between distance and ability to orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse.

[T]here’s even an easy “rule of thumb,” Wallen says: Clitoris-vagina distances less than 2.5 cm — that’s roughly from the tip of your thumb to your first knuckle — tend to yield reliable orgasms during sex. More than a thumb’s length? Regular intercourse alone typically might not do the trick.

This may be statistically true, but I would posit that this isn’t the end of the story. Read the rest of this entry »

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