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Year: 2013 Type: Book Chapter Language: English

This introduction introduces the debates on sexuality in the global north, and focuses on the debates around sexuality and pleasure occurring in the south that are starting to break the silence on the positive and empowering dimensions of women’s sexuality. Although there is much debate on the theoretical aspects of women’s sexuality, there is little debate on the policy implications of these debates, or documentation of practical initiatives on empowerment through positive approaches to sexuality. The authors note that, in discussions of sexuality, there is no focus on enjoyment, only on the dangerous aspects of sexuality. Development discourse associates sex with hazard and harm, and ndoes not talk about what might be positive, pleasurable or empowering about sexuality. The articles in this book tend to provide practical examples of how negative approaches to sexuality play out in their communities and contexts, and of how people create spaces for pleasure by reworking negative aspects of traditions. The articles in the book touch on questions such as why we should talk about pleasure, how to talk about pleasure, whose pleasure, how to work and to not work with pleasure, and how pleasure can be productively promoted. This is what is new about this book: the contextual descriptions and the descriptions of interventions and proposals of frameworks for action. At the same time, some practical examples serve as evidence to document and explain the relationship between sexuality and empowerment on a conceptual level. This book shows why we should work with pleasure, and how we can do so in ways that change people’s lives, on an individual and collective level. It also shows how pleasure can contribute to empowerment.

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