Written by Christopher Purdy forRH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.
Sex and sensual images have been used for years in developed countries to sell everything from beer and soft drinks to cars and hotels, yet in reproductive health we have shied away from doing this even though much of our work is aimed specifically at people who are having, or contemplating, sexual relations.
Can the promise of a better orgasm, or at least a fear-free sexual experience, improve the chances that couples will use family planning? If a couple is not afraid of getting pregnant or picking up a sexually-transmitted infection, will they enjoy the sexual experience more? And if they do, shouldn’t the reproductive health and family planning community capitalize on that and apply the lessons learned by the multitude of marketers who know that sex sells?
I realize that the idea is scary for those who worry that such strategies will promote sex. It is safer to keep family planning and reproductive health medicalized, sanitized and respectable.
But the last time I checked, young people did not call their friends to talk about their “reproductive health” or “contraceptive options.” They talk about their sex lives — and they talk about it a lot! More and better use of language, imagery and presentation of a sensual and even erotic nature will go a long way towards making family planning more desirable, even fashionable, especially among young people who are increasingly sophisticated in terms of marketing.