Volume 37 Number 5
Published: October 1, 2006
This IDS Bulletin addresses a theme that mainstream development has persistently neglected: sexuality. Sex and sexuality have profound implications for development, and are intimately connected with every dimension of poverty. And nothing is more basic than our rights over our own bodies. Yet the sidelining of sexuality in development, its treatment either as a ‘health issue' or as a ‘luxury', has meant that far too little attention has been paid to its broader implications for human well-being. This IDS Bulletin seeks to show why sexuality matters. It argues that sexuality matters to people, and is an important part of most people's lives. Development policies and practices are already having a significant – and often negative – impact on sexuality. Societal norms that seek to contain and control sexuality have a significant and often highly negative impact on material as well as emotional well-being. Development needs to recognise the importance of sexuality, to move beyond the limits of negativity to a more positive and pleasure-focused approach, and to affirm our rights to bodily and sexual autonomy as fundamental. Contributors offer a wealth of inspirational examples of how this might be done.