Pleasure and prevention: when good sex is safer sex

Reprod Health Matters. 2006 Nov;14(28):23-31. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(06)28254-5.


Most sexual health education programmes use fear and risk of disease to try to motivate people to practise safer sex. This gives the impression that safer sex and pleasurable sex are mutually exclusive. Yet there is growing evidence that promoting pleasure alongside safer sex messaging can increase the consistent use of condoms and other forms of safer sex. To this end, the Pleasure Project created The Global Mapping of Pleasure, a document that identifies projects and organisations worldwide that put pleasure first in HIV prevention and sexual health promotion, and sexually provocative media that include safer sex. This article summarises some of the findings of this mapping exercise and what we learned about incorporating pleasure from it. We found that there are a variety of organisations, including religious and youth groups, and HIV/AIDS organisations and NGOs, promoting pleasurable safer sex. The techniques they use include promoting sexual techniques and dialogue about sex, teaching married couples how to have better sex and putting images of desire in sexual education materials. This paper focuses on ways of eroticising female and male condoms as examples of effective ways of using pleasure in HIV prevention and sexual health promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Cambodia
  • Coitus / physiology
  • Condoms*
  • Condoms, Female
  • Erotica*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Lubricants
  • Male
  • Safe Sex*
  • Sex Education


  • Lubricants