PRmoment Health Communications Review: Is Indian society ready to talk sexual well being, World Sexual Health Day 2022

PRmoment's weekly 'Healthcare Communications Review' column looks at the biggest healthcare trends every week and analyses the communications implications. In partnership with SPAG, A Finn Partners Company.

Prioritising sexual well being, especially female sexual well being.

In 2018, Netflix released a collection of short stories titled Bombay Diaries: Lust Stories. In one of the segments, directed by uber Bollywood director Karan Johar, the young, newlywed and unhappy in-bed, protagonist famously sought satisfaction via a sex toy.

A rare spotlight on female pleasure in India. 

The reason why we are talking about this is because September marks World Sexual Health Day 2022, with the theme of  is ‘Let’s Talk Pleasure’. In February 2022, WHO, HRP and partners published an analysis on the need to consider sexual pleasure, not only the risk of disease, in designing sexual health programmes. The systematic review and meta-analysis showed that sexual pleasure can be an important success factor for improving knowledge around sex and the uptake of safer sex practices such as condom use.

Ritika Jauhari, Senior Partner, SPAG/FINN says, "Sexual wellness is a real issue that needs to be normalised. As communicators and enablers, we have a critical role in making the conversation mainstream. It is important to bring together providers, media, and communities to build an enabling information and awareness ecosystem."

What this means for communicators?

1) India is not only traditional when it comes to discussing sexual well being, but is also extremely complex. In the same neighbourhood, on the same row of houses openness to a healthy discussion can exist side by side with conservatism. On top of that sex education in schools is still a taboo. The communication challenge here is to move the needle from education to well being, while considering that the knowledge and openness of various stakeholders is very varied.

Pranay Jivrajka– founder and CEO, Allo Health (a digital health clinic seeking to normalise sexual wellness) says, "In many traditional and conservative perspectives, sex is viewed only as a means to continue the family line. In most cases, the aspects of pleasure and hygiene aren’t even fathomed. 

Sexual well being involves physical, mental, and behavioural aspects in relation to relaxation, sexuality, and relationships. Sexual health needs to have as much of a pedestal as physical, mental, and reproductive health. The idea of sexual disorders is far too stigmatised for no good reason, with the focus traditionally being on reproductive health. It’s time sexual health and wellness acquired some spotlight." 

2) Interestingly enough, like in the US, the LGBTQAI community in India can be at the forefront of talking about pleasure. The recent decriminalization of gay sex in 2018 in India has quickly brought into the mainstream topics of sexuality, identity, inclusion and sexual pleasure.

3) Social media can be key to transform access to reliable information about well being. Influencers like Leeza Mangaldas call herself, " A pleasure-positive content creator who aims to normalise conversations around sex and sexuality, sexual health, and the body, with a particular focus on women."

Jauhari comments, "Unfortunately, sexual well-being, a sensitive but important aspect of health has always been burdened with numerous taboos and bias around it. What's required is a channel agnostic approach. The need is to mobilise all channels of media to prioritize sexual, mental health, reproductive health and rights issues and report them in an accurate manner. Content will play a key role. Content that is simple, relatable yet compelling will define how well these messages resonate with the audience."

Check out Leeza Mangaldas's podcast at the end of the article.

In other news:

1) Actress Olivia Wilde's latest film 'Don't Worry Darling', starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh is in the process of being released across the world. One of the focus points in advance trailers has been female pleasure. A factor, Wilde says, rarely focused on even in Hollywood.

2) Sex Toys are going green. Check out how.

Hat Tip to

The late great Dr. Mahendra Watsa, who did much to answer normal questions on sex, considered taboo, in his column on Mumbai Mirror, 'Ask the Sexpert' . 

While imparting information, the witty no nonsense style of the good doctor made great reading by itself.

Check out a selection here.

That's it for this week. Special thanks to SPAG, a FINN Partner company for their ongoing support for this weekly column.

News for the column curated by Impact Research and Measurement

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