We were delighted to help edit this new volume on sexuality and women’s empowerment. Working with such interesting authors from around the world was a real treat and our co-editors Andrea Cornwall and Susie Jolly always impress. Here is the summary from the Zed website.

This pioneering collection explores the ways in which positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality can empower women. Gender and development tends to engage with sexuality only in relation to violence and ill-health. Important as this is in challenging violence against women, this negative emphasis dovetails with conservative ideologies associating women’s sexualities with danger and fear. On the other hand, the media, the pharmaceutical industry and pornography 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 with examples of activism, advocacy and programming from around the world that use pleasure as an entry point for enhancing equality and empowerment for all.

‘This book’s holistic approach to sexuality is enormously refreshing. Avoiding the dangers of universalizing models of resistance and understandings of sexuality, it opens up innovative methodological, theoretical and political paths for new work on women, gender and development.’ Desiree Lewis, University of the Western Cape

‘This is one of those uncommon books which open up new perspectives on development. It pushes forward the frontiers of feminism, challenging convention and recognising pleasure as a right. Inclusively it embraces heterosexuals, LGBTQs, sex workers, the disabled, those who are HIV positive, those married to gay partners and others so often excluded. It confronts stereotypes and taboos with the grounded evidence of experiences, both awful and inspiring. The editors and contributors have remarkably produced a book with a new theme, putting sexual pleasure on the development agenda and presenting it in a manner that is at once sensitive, nuanced, and full of humanity. The result is a remarkable book, a gripping read, exhilarating and liberating in the way it celebrates pleasure, laughter and fun. We see pleasure as an empowering win-win. We are left wondering why sexual pleasure has only now come up in the development agenda. Development professionals: read, enjoy, be enlightened, and recognise women’s sexual pleasure as a human right.’ Robert Chambers, research associate, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

‘Sexual pleasure is a domain of life, theory and research – particularly in the case of female sexuality – constantly torn between danger and jouissance, between objectification and empowerment. This volume does not evade these minefields but rather addresses them as nodes to be deconstructed when articulating social, gender and erotic justice.’ Sonia Correa, Sexuality Policy Watch

‘This is a fantastic book … Highly intelligent, knowledgeable writers from the front lines of women’s struggles from all corners of the globe make reading this collection of essays, well, deeply pleasurable and extremely satisfying.’ Annie Sprinkle, founder of sexecology.org


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