Screenshot from the Love Matters presentation at the WAS Congress
RNW Media

Love Matters talks sexy in Singapore

RNW Media platform attends World Association for Sexual Health Congress
“Just a show of hands: who here has sex for pleasure?” The plenary audience at the 22nd Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) are thankfully not a shy bunch – most people raise their hands.

It’s early afternoon in Singapore and, after months of planning and research, Love Matter’s Content Strategist Michelle Chakkalackal is unveiling preliminary findings regarding the effectiveness of using the language of sexual pleasure in the communication of sexual health information.

Love Matter delegation meet WAS Congress organisers in SingaporeAcknowledging the show of hands, Michelle (second from right on picture) continues:

“So if this is the case, why don’t we see the language of pleasure being incorporated in sex education? Even when we have just acknowledged together that people have sex because it feels good. Is it because we don’t have enough quantitative data to support our common hunches?”

It is this discrepancy - and the absence of quantitative data - that Love Matters is seeking to address with its analysis of tens of millions of data points across its sites.

As part of an expert panel called “Put the sexy into sex education”, Michelle revealed that early indicators strongly suggest visitors engage with pleasure-positive messages more often than with traditional sexual health messages, which typically focus on dry facts and risk.

Pleasure is key
This call to acknowledge the importance of pleasure was echoed by co-presenters Doortje Braeken (Senior Adviser on Adolescents, Gender and Rights for the International Planned Parenthood Federation IPPF), John Santelli (Professor of Clinical Paediatrics at Columbia University) and Anton Castellanos Usigli (Chair of the WAS Youth Initiative).

“Since Love Matters was conceived, the WAS supported us with expertise and recognition”, says Global Director of the project Michele Ernsting.

“I’m delighted we can now share important data, which in turn supports WAS members’ own goals around engaging young people around their sexual rights and health. The WAS offers us an opportunity to advocate for change among top influencers of SRHR [sexual and reproductive health and rights] policy around the world.”

Founded in 1978, WAS works to promote sexual rights for all. Their membership represents thousands of sexologists from a wide variety of disciplines. It is the second time that Love Matters has presented at WAS, after picking up the prestigious Award for Excellence & Innovation in Sexuality Education in Brazil in 2013.

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