A Pleasure Framework for Sexuality Education

I am very excited to announce that a commentary and a lesson plan that I wrote have both been published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Sexuality Education (Volume 7, Issue 2).

Getting to the Good Stuff: Adopting a Pleasure Framework for Sexuality Education

Don’t Forget the Good Stuff! Incorporating Positive Messages of Sexual Pleasure into Sexuality Education

Both pieces are a direct result of a workshop that I facilitated at the Center for Family Life Education’s Sex Ed Conference in November 2010.  (This is also the workshop that the reporter from the NY Times Magazine attended when she wrote the article, Teaching Good Sex.)

In both the commentary and the lesson plan, I defined A Pleasure Framework for Sexuality Education:

The Pleasure Framework for Sexuality Education is an underlying approach to sexuality education that actively affirms sexual pleasure as beneficial to an individual’s overall sexual health.  A sexuality education program with a pleasure framework…

  • Focuses on the positive, pleasurable aspects of sexuality.
  • Validates an individual’s desire to seek and experience pleasure.
  • Examines challenges associated with experiencing pleasure.
  • Explores the diversity of what pleasure means to individuals.
  • Promotes the understanding of pleasure-seeking motivations.
  • Supports open communication about experiencing pleasure.
  • Integrates the concept of pleasure into all content areas.
  • Encourages decision-making in order to achieve positive outcomes.
  • Affirms that sexual pleasure is beneficial to an individual’s sexual health and well-being.

The Pleasure Framework for Sexuality Education calls on the teachers, facilitators, and/or program personnel to adopt a philosophy that the overall goal of their sexuality education program is for the participants to become healthier sexual beings, and that the experience of pleasure is central to that goal.  This framework does not ask programs to omit or change the content areas that are already included in their curriculum.  It does, however, require that the individuals who are administering the program maintain a sex-positive, pleasure-affirming perspective, and consistently frame learning around positive actions that are mindful of sexual pleasure.  (deFur, K. (2012) Getting to the Good Stuff- Adopting a Pleasure Framework for Sexuality Education. American Journal of Sexuality Education. 7 (2), 151-152.)

In the commentary I go into more detail about why pleasure is key to sexuality education, strategies for applying the framework, and some anticipated challenges (and suggestions for facing those challenges).  The lesson plan is designed to be used with professionals (although portions could be adapted for use with teens), and provides an opportunity to explore the meaning of pleasure, values associated with sexual pleasure, challenges for bringing pleasure up in the classroom, and practical use of the pleasure framework.

I feel like this is an exciting time for these publications to come out.  In doing the research, I found that SO many people are talking about pleasure, especially when I think about how little was out there on this topic while I was in grad school (2004-2006).  I feel honored to be joining my voice to the many others that are crying out for PLEASURE.

Summary of ideas generated during an activity for developing strategies to integrate positive messages of sexual pleasure into sexuality education programs at the Sex Ed Conference, November 18, 2010.

2 thoughts on “A Pleasure Framework for Sexuality Education

  1. I’m a current student at Mailman (your degree your track) looking to learn to become a quality sex educator such as yourself! Are there any trainings/programs in New York City that you could recommend to me?

    • Hi Renata! Thanks for introducing yourself, so to speak. My best advice is to find a way to teach as much as possible, even if it’s not sexuality education as people might think. Getting experience just working with the population you’re interested in will help hone your skills, knowledge, and perspective. If you can intern with TORCH, they are doing some great ‘on the ground’ work. If you can afford to go, attend the Sex Ed conference in NJ hosted by the Center for Family Life Education- lots of great, well-known sexuality educators will be presenting, and it’s a great way to meet people and feed your brain. I wish I had more concrete information to offer you! If I hear of anything, I will keep you in mind. Thanks, and keep up the work!

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