The Pleasure Project and TabuTabu will be building out Ana Autoestima (AA), a pleasure-based sexuality education platform in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and integrating monitoring and evaluation efforts to collect data that tests and validates measures of pleasure and sexual wellbeing as key indicators for gender equality and empowerment.

The key aspects of this proposal center on co-creation including ideation, development, testing, and scaling of AA. Active community participation will continue to inform all activities undertaken in Brazil and will be key in building a pro-pleasure network of organizations and service providers. There will also be purposeful engagement with actors from the global South and East to ensure that their voices are at the center of the initiative.

Global discourse around pleasure-based sexual health has gathered momentum over the past 18 years. Studies have shown that sexual wellbeing, pleasure, and positive sexual self-esteem promote overall wellbeing through improved relationship quality and general life satisfaction. In addition, pleasure-inclusive sexual health programs have been found to improve sexual health outcomes like contraceptive use, as well as knowledge and attitudes around sex, compared to programs that are not pleasure-inclusive. However, a focus on pleasure and desire continues to be stigmatized in several contexts, with women’s pleasure and desire remaining particularly taboo. Further, measures of pleasure are missing from key indicators monitoring gender equality and empowerment. The Pleasure Project, under the Pleasure Fellowship, ideated a free messaging service named “Ana Autoestima (AA)” to share sex-positive, pleasure-based information with women living in Favelinha, a favela in the northern periphery of Rio de Janeiro. This 2-month trial with 15 service users showed the tremendous potential of taking a pleasure-based approach to sexual health with underserved communities within an unequitable context, as users reported the experience of pleasure, self-understanding, and self-love as motivators to tackle challenges in their relationships, their jobs, and their overall lives.

Implementing Partners

The Pleasure Project & TabuTabu




Youth, Abortion, Family Planning

Year Awarded