IPPF Endorses Pleasure Principles for World Sexual Health Day

Ahead of World Sexual Health Day on 4th September 2022, 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 Organisation 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.’