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Year: 2013 Type: Book Chapter Language: English

Religious organisations are often the site for some of the most negative prescriptive messages about sexuality and might seem a difficult place to raise such issues. However, there are glimmers within religious institutions of recognition of the power of pleasure. In this chapter, Bertrand-Dansereau describes how secular sexuality education interventions create even less space for discussion of pleasure than religious interventions in Malawi, and how negativity about sex and sexuality limits their effectiveness. Bertrand-Dansereau finds unexpectedly that in Malawi, church sexuality education was far more open and sex-positive than secular alternatives, which tried to motivate people to safer behaviours through fear of disease. Church education focussed on the joys of living, and recognized the power of sexual desire and how difficult it is to abstain from sex – although they still called for “brave Christians” to take this “arduous path” until marriage.

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