Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure

Published on 9 September 2013

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This pioneering collection explores the ways in which positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality can empower women.

Gender and development has tended to engage with sexuality only in relation to violence and ill-health. Although this has been hugely important in challenging violence against women, over-emphasizing these negative aspects has dovetailed with conservative ideologies that associate women’s sexualities with danger and fear. On the other hand, the media, the pharmaceutical industry, and pornography more broadly celebrate the pleasures of sex in ways that can be just as oppressive, often implying that only certain types of people – young, heterosexual, able-bodied, HIV-negative – are eligible for sexual pleasure.

Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure brings together challenges to these strictures and exclusions from both the South and North of the globe, with examples of activism, advocacy and programming which use pleasure as an entry point. It shows how positive approaches to pleasure and sexuality can enhance equality and empowerment for all.


Honorary Associate

Publication details

published by
Zed Books
Jolly, S., Cornwall, A., and Hawkins, K.
978 1 78032 571 2


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