Pleasure positive approaches for better health outcomes in the global south

Focusing on the positive aspects of sex, rather than resorting to scare tactics, has far better outcomes for contraception uptake, disease prevention, and eliminating gender-based violence. That’s why AmplifyChange, supported by The Pleasure Project and in partnership with The Case for Her, is launching a project to introduce pleasure-based approaches to sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy in the Global South.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Since its creation in 2014, AmplifyChange has received over 6,000 eligible applications to support grassroots advocates of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the Global South*. Created initially as a project-based grant funding platform, AmplifyChange has now grown into an independent non-profit organization designed to continue growing and strengthening sustainable SRHR movements across five themes:

  • Access to services for poor, vulnerable, and marginalized groups
  • Gender-based violence
  • Safe abortion choices and access
  • Challenging stigma and discrimination
  • Better sexual health for young people

*The term “Global South” broadly refers to the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

Pleasure Matters

As a fund-maker, AmplifyChange is dedicated to exploring new approaches and opportunities to make positive change across its thematic areas. One of the current opportunities to ensure that safety, desire, and joy are at the center of SRHR programming is to test the integration of pleasure and sex positivity into existing programming.

Pleasure is an essential component of human sexuality and fundamental to our overall health and well-being. We know that focusing on adverse outcomes and aspects of sex can often have the opposite effects from what is intended because people with a positive view of their sexuality are more likely to engage in safe behaviors.

Joining this initiative as a technical expert is The Pleasure Project, whose team will be training the grantees on pleasure positive approaches and documenting best practices. The Pleasure Project has previously worked with AmplifyChange to develop a best practice guide around pleasure positive strategies to comprehensive SRHR education and services. The overall mission of The Pleasure Project is to promote sexual health and agency through an emphasis on “good safe sex.” They do this by focusing on one of the primary reasons people have sex (the pursuit of pleasure) and by acknowledging diverse desires and means of satisfaction. According to The Pleasure Project team, they have been “putting the sexy into safer sex since 2004.”

“This project with AmplifyChange is extremely important to this mission as it will advance the sex-positive and pleasure-based approach to sexual health and rights, promoting good, safe sex.”

Anne Philpott and The Pleasure Project team

A handful of grantees from the first cohort of the new AmplifyChange will receive support for integrating pleasure-positive approaches into their existing advocacy programs. Beyond this first-hand support of grassroots organizations, the broader aim of this initiative is to increase adoption and mainstream these approaches for the future. By expanding the evidence base and proving the benefits of pleasure-based approaches in SRHR, we hope to attract more donors to the field.

“AmplifyChange grantees know their local contexts and want to integrate sex-positive approaches in their work. We are really pleased to partner with The Case for Her and The Pleasure Project to support grantees to achieve the best SRHR impact in their communities.”

Rolla Khadduri, interim CEO, AmplifyChange

How to get involved

AmplifyChange is dependent on outside financing and currently looking for donors to support the growth and implementation of more robust SRHR advocacy in the Global South. If you or your organization is looking to help change policies, increase awareness, and change social norms around SRHR, we encourage you to reach out to AmplifyChange and discuss opportunities to get involved.

/Shannon Lövgren, Managing Director of The Case for her

AmplifyChange is an independent, not-for-profit organisation supporting civil society advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Our vision is the full attainment of SRHR for all. We do this through grant-making, organisational strengthening of civil society partners, and creating opportunities for knowledge generation for advocacy.

In the short time since our inception in 2014, AmplifyChange has established a unique place within the global SRHR architecture. No other platform specifically supporting civil society SRHR advocacy has our reach or range. We have built a critical mass of grantees (1000+) across 85 countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where the needs are greatest.

These grantees have had a demonstrable impact. They show that civil society — when supported properly — can achieve lasting and relevant change, especially when working in solidarity together.

The Pleasure Project is an international education and advocacy organization working to promote pleasure inclusive sexual health and well-being and eroticize safer sex. We build bridges between the public health world and the pleasure industry, and help to develop the evidence base for a sex-positive and pleasure-based approach to sexual health and rights. We promote sexual health and agency through an emphasis on ‘good safe sex’ and by focusing on one of the primary reasons people have sex — the pursuit of pleasure — and by acknowledging diverse desires and means of satisfaction.

The Pleasure Project provides training and consultancy for sexual health professionals and sexuality educators and others who want to take a more sex-positive and pleasure-based approach to their work.

The Case for Her is a philanthropic investment portfolio addressing the key women’s health issues of menstruation and female sexual health.

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