A Woman’s Right To Pleasure is the radical new art book by BlackBook, Dr. Marashi and LELO. Available now, the book brings together over 75 of the most important womxn artists, writers and creative thinkers as they explore pleasure—and empowerment—in all its forms. BlackBook partnered with LELO on this project due to their aligning ethos that sees female pleasure as a human right that should be celebrated. LELO has been a guiding and influential force in the sex toy industry for over a decade, with designs that blend pleasure with performance like no other brand. The company aims to empower and liberate women by normalizing conversations around sex and pleasure, and by bringing those dialogues to the mainstream. For more information on LELO, please visit www.lelo.com.
In October 2020, Washington became the first state in U.S. history to put sex education on its statewide ballot. After passing the referendum, the state then became the first to require that school districts actually teach sex education to its students. While the implementation of sex ed programs is necessary, it’s also long overdue; and what’s even more essential is to reform the content covered within these courses: women’s sexuality and pleasure are, all too often, completely omitted from the dialogue.
The disparity between male and female sex education is starkly evident and can be traced back to the far-reaching cultural fear of female pleasure. In other words, the shroud of mystery that surrounds the topic of female pleasure stems from the historical disempowerment of women by keeping them in the dark about their bodies. As Pussy Riot founder, activist and musician Nadya Tolokonnikova writes, in her essay from BlackBook and LELO’s new book, A Woman’s Right To Pleasure: “How do you make a woman scared of her body? Strip down her knowledge about it.”
The utter lack of discourse surrounding female pleasure can ultimately lead to consequences like shame and trauma. Alice Little, a legal sex worker at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada, in her essay from A Woman’s Right To Pleasure, tells the story of a friend from high school who was sexually assaulted, and, without the proper the tools “couldn’t even identify what had happened to her. It was only after two months of missing her period that she came to me, and the thing that struck me most was the painfully hushed toned she used, almost like it hurt her throat to put words to her story.”
At its roots, the continued lack of female sex education is a blatant attack on human rights. This issue is exactly what led to the creation of A Woman’s Right To Pleasure, a collaborative art book by BlackBook, LELO and gynecologist Dr. Amir Marashi. Featuring the iconic works of over 75 womxn artists, writers, and creatives, the book combines art with essays in a call to action, to ignite discussions on female pleasure.
The book also marks a continuation in LELO’s journey to prioritize education in their goal to erase shame and foster empowerment when it comes to women’s bodies. The leading intimate lifestyle brand has created numerous campaigns to foster a safe space for conversations on female pleasure. “Education is power,” says Sara Kranjčec Jukić, LELO’s global brand manager. “Education is the only way to get to the ultimate goal: sexual liberation.”
LELO has also worked extensively with educators like Dr. Laurie Mintz, as part of their mission to educate womxn and destigmatize female pleasure. Mintz has also previously advocated for revolutionizing sex education in schools. “I think these discussions needed to be started young and continued, adding more and more age appropriate information,” Mintz said in our recent interview. “I’d like to see both mandatory, science-based, sex ed that includes pleasure and porn-literacy.”
Taking it one step further, education around female pleasure transcends sexual liberation; it may, in the end, liberate women from oppression on numerous fronts. “Like everyone, I’ve been trying to be happy my whole life, but I did not succeed until I reconnected with my body and truly became one with it,” writes Tolokonnikova. “[I] got in exchange (much) better sex, a clearer sense of identity and belonging, and I became more grounded and achieved a level of authority not known to me earlier.”
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