Development usually treats sexuality as a problem: over-population, sexually transmitted disease, or sexual violence in the home and as a weapon of war. The images that come with any mention of the subject are those of risk and danger, disease and death. This focus well describes some of the consequences of the disregard for sexual rights that exists the world over. There has been a recent emphasis on criminalising non-normative sexuality and a rise in homophobic violence in several places in the world. However, focusing merely upon this negativity generates fear and disempowerment, and discourages us from seeing how we might be able to change our situations.

Rather than focusing on pain, harm and wrongs, a more positive, pleasure-oriented, view of sexuality offers an entirely different set of entry points for work to make sexual rights real. Similarly, broadening the areas within law, development policy and practice in which sexuality is considered is an increasingly crucial area of engagement. Understanding the relationship between sexual rights and poverty illustrates the need for aid policies and poverty alleviation efforts that account for sexuality and examine unspoken assumptions and exclusions.

Across the Institute, we currently support research and communications aimed at rethinking the relationship between sexuality, rights and development and building stronger links between people in different contexts working to realize their sexual rights. Collaborating closely with established networks and movements, our approach to protecting and respecting rights are based on strategies drawn from local communities that are most affected. Much of this theme’s activity is organised through the IDS Sexuality and Development Programme and the Sexuality, Poverty and Law Programme.

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Bridging the Gap Evaluation

This is a mid-term evaluation of the Bridging the Gaps Programme a global program operating in 16 countries across all the main key populations at-risk for HIV. More details

Pathways of Women's Empowerment Research Programme Consortium

Pathways is a research and communication programme which seeks to discover where women are achieving real gains despite or because of policy and practice. It looks at how this has happened, and aims to make these pathways visible so that we can build on these revealed successes. More details

Sexuality and Development Programme (2007-11)

Supporting the realisation of sexual rights and access to basic services for those facing poverty and injustice More details

Sexuality and Local Voices

The Sexuality and Development project is one of the workstreams of the Gender, Power and Sexuality (GPS) Programme, funded by Sida. More details

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IDS Working Paper

Marriage, Motherhood and Masculinity in the Global Economy: Reconfiguration of Personal and Economic Life

IDS Working Paper 290 (2007)

This paper explores how women and men are dealing with this feminisation of labour markets in the face of the widespread prevalence of male breadwinner ideologies and the apparent threat to male authority represented by women's earnings. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Gender and Sexuality

BRIDGE Cutting Edge Pack (2007)

Sexuality can bring misery through sexual violence, HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, female genital mutilation, or marginalisation of those who break the rules, such as non-macho men, single women, widows who re-marry, sex workers, people with same-sex sexualities, and transgender people. More details

IDS Working Paper

Why the Development Industry Should Get Over its Obsession with Bad Sex and Start to Think About Pleasure

IDS Working Paper 283 (2007)

The development industry has emphasised the dangers of sex and sexuality in relation to population control, disease and violence. This negative approach to sex has been filtered through a view of gender which stereotypes men as predators, women as victims, and fails to recognise the existence of transgender people. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Realising Sexual Rights

Workshop Report (2007)
IDS publications on international development research

From the Physical Self to the Social Body: Expression and Effect of HIV-Related Stigma in South Africa

Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 16 (2006)

This paper discusses some of the forms and consequences of HIV-related stigma in a community living in KTC, an informal settlement in South Africa, drawing on ethnographic research findings. More details

Front cover of Bulletin 37.5, Sexuality Matters

Sexuality Matters

IDS Bulletin 37.5 (2006)

This IDS Bulletin addresses a theme that mainstream development has persistently neglected: sexuality. Over the last decade, development policymakers and practitioners have come to endorse a multi-dimensional approach to poverty, and growing attention has been placed on achieving greater freedom, wellbeing and human rights for all. More details

Front cover of Bulletin 37.4, Challenging orthodoxies, Influencing Debates

Challenging Orthodoxies, Influencing Debates

IDS Bulletin 37.4 (2006)

What makes a classic IDS Bulletin article? Wandering through almost 40 years and 140 issues of the IDS Bulletin, some common features can be discerned. The most memorable IDS Bulletin articles challenge orthodoxy and present alternative perspectives on development issues. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Not So Strange Bedfellows: Sexuality and International Development

Development 49.1 (2006)

Susie Jolly in conversation with three activists whose work relates to sexuality, Henry Armas (GRUPAL, The Working Group for Participation, Peru), Pinar Ilkkaracan (Women for Women's Human Rights, Turkey), Veronica Magar (CARE, Asia Region) explores the links between sexual rights and international development. More details

This is the cover of the IDS Policy Briefing series

Sexuality and Development

IDS Policy Briefing 29 (2006)
IDS Working Paper

Sex for Pleasure, Rights to Participation, and Alternatives to AIDS: Placing Sexual Minorities and/or Dissidents in Development

IDS Working Paper 228 (2004)

This paper highlights some of the contradictions in the relationship between rights and participation in the evolution of discourses on sexualities in development in various countries throughout the Third World. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Sexual Reproductive Health

PLA Notes 37 (2000)

The theme section of this issue of PLA Notes focuses on the use of participatory approaches in Sexual and Reproductive Health, building on previous RRA/PLA Notes issues on Health (RRA Notes 16, 1992) and HIV/AIDS (PLA Notes 23, 1995). More details

IDS Discussion paper

A Woman's Fate is a Gourd's Fate: Labour and Sexuality of Korean Married Women

IDS Discussion Paper 351 (1995)

This study shows that in Korea, husbands' attitudes, in particular the fear of infidelity, are an important factor in influencing women's access to paid work, but that women have resisted such control over their working conditions. More details

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