Ahead of World Sexual Health Day on 4 September 2022, the theme of which is Let's talk pleasure, the world's largest sexual and reproductive healthcare organization, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), is publicly committing to pleasure-inclusive sexual health and rights (SRHR) by endorsing The Pleasure Project's Pleasure Principles.
The seven principles, which include putting rights first, embracing learning, and loving yourself, promote a sex-positive, pleasure-based approach to sex and sexual health as opposed to standard prevention framing, which focuses only on avoiding pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).
The Pleasure Principles are backed by new research with the World Health Organization, which shows that including sexual pleasure in sexual health education improves condom use compared to those that don't and increases knowledge and positive attitudes about sex, ultimately leading to better, safer sex and saving lives in the process.
IPPF is adjusting to the shifting landscape of sexual health needs with seven pleasure-filled commitments, including incorporating staff training on pleasure-based sexual health and working with The Pleasure Project to integrate pleasure into more of its sexual and reproductive health programmes. The organization will also ensure that pleasure is a guiding principle in its upcoming 2023-2028 organizational strategy.
Marie-Evelyne-Petrus-Barry, Regional Director for IPPF Africa Region, said:
"IPPF has always believed that pleasure is fundamental to well-being and that comprehensive sexual education globally must be drastically improved, stepping away from fear-based framing and stepping into one rooted in understanding sexual and reproductive health more holistically.
"We also must be honest that most people, especially young people, do not just have sex for reproductive reasons, but have sex for pleasure. We must do more to help people understand the spectrum of pleasure so they can better understand their own needs and wants, and we hope, have a better, safer and healthier sex life."
IPPF Africa Region has stepped up to the mark with the Treasure Your Pleasure digital campaign for young people, which has already sparked a conversation on sexual pleasure, sexual health and sexual rights on social media.
More than 8 million people have viewed the content, which includes information about pleasure-based sex and relationships, sexual safety and consent, and more than 30,000 new people have followed the region on social media to learn more about their sexual health and wellbeing. IPPF plans to implement learnings from the campaign across other regions.
Anne Philpott, Founder of the Pleasure Project, said:
"The Pleasure Project is delighted that IPPF has endorsed the Pleasure Principles. As the largest global provider of sexual and reproductive health services, it shines a light on this long stigmatized blind-spot in sexual health.
"Pleasure, love and desire are key reasons people have sex and relationships. Yet health services have been focused on stopping disease or preventing pregnancy for too long, limiting their appeal and impact. Our recent evidence review with the World Health Organization demonstrates that pleasure-inclusive sexual health improves sexual health and ultimately saves lives.
"This commitment is not only critical in ensuring the more than 200 million essential services they provide every year are honest, sex-positive and effective but also that the people they serve are respected as wanting to live fulfilling lives.
"We are excited to partner with IPPF to put their commitment into action with staff training, implementation of pleasure-based sexual health and learning lessons on how to best deliver this new evidence and pleasure-filled best practice."
About the International Planned Parenthood Federation
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
For over 65 years, IPPF, through its 118 Member Associations and 15 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context.
We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.
Notes to Editors
- World Sexual Health 2022 has the theme 'Let's talk pleasure' - find assets here
- The full list of Pleasure Principles can be found on www.thepleasureproject.org and include:
- 1. Love Yourself
- 2. Embrace Learning
- 3. Talk Sexy
- 4. Be Flexible
- 5. Think Universal
- 6. Rights First
- 7. Be Positive
- A pleasure-based approach celebrates sex, sexuality and the joy and wellbeing derived from these and creates a vision of good sex built on sexual rights. It focuses on sensory, mental, physical and sensual pleasure to enable individuals to understand, consent to, and control their bodies and multi-faceted desires. Well-being, safety, pleasure, desire and joy are the objectives of a programme with a pleasure-based approach. This approach measures empowerment, agency, and self-efficacy by whether or not an individual has been enabled to know what they want and can ask for it and request this of others in relation to their sexuality, desires and pleasure. [ The Pleasure Project, 2019]
- The full list of IPPF's commitments includes:
- 1. At least two Member Associations commit to testing elements of the Pleasure Principles in their work
- 2. Incorporate training of staff across the Federation on Pleasure Based Sexual Health and the evidence that supports it
- 3. Look to expand the Treasure Your Pleasure Campaign by the Africa Regional Office to other regions and use the learnings to inform Pleasure based-content across all regions
- 4. A specific module on advocacy for pleasure in the IPPF internal training modules
- 5. To work with the Pleasure Project to better understand how to incorporate Pleasure into our programmes with a focus on youth
- 6. To work with at least thee sex positive, pleasure-based influencers on social media content
- 7. Continue to ensure Pleasure is a principal guiding the new IPPF Strategy 2023-2028