Women defend 'safe and satisfying sex' phrase in RH bill
MANILA, Philippines - Senator Tito Sotto is outvoted and fails to remove the phrase ‘safe and satisfying sex’ from the Senate version of the RH bill.
Bea Cupin reports.
“May I inquire from the proponent, my discomfort only arises from the phrase safe and satisfying sex life being included in the law. I’m just not too comfortable with the law saying safe and satisfying, if only that phrase is removed.”
FRANCIS ESCUDERO, PHILIPPINE SENATOR
What's so scandalous about wanting "safe and satisfying sex" and why does it matter?
Rappler's resident sex writer Ana Santos takes the topic head on, with the help of three equally informed and empowered women.
7.2. ...REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH THEREFORE IMPLIES THAT PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO HAVE A SATISFYING AND SAFE SEX LIFE...
UN ICPD 1994 PROGRAMME OF ACTION
The line is nothing new. It comes from international conventions on population and development such as the 1994 Cairo Convention and the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing.
But in the Philippines, sexuality is a touchy topic--especially for women.
Freelance photographer Mitch Mauricio, whose work "Karesinda" explores female sexuality, says upbringing and culture are to blame.
"Before we can actually explore our own sexuality, the first thing is to know ourselves, to know our own vaginas. To know what it actually looks like..."
MITCH MAURICIO, PHOTOGRAPHER
Ana Maria Leal, national program associate for the UN Population Fund says sexuality is key to female and male empowerment.
She says sex talk involves more than just orgasms, the act, contraception, and the like. It's about the right to choose.
"Part of the low condom use can actually be traced, linked to the capacity of women to negotiate for safer sex."
ANA MARIA LEAL, UN POP’N FUND NATIONAL PROGRAMME ASSOCIATE
Ana Santos emphasizes the importance of safe sexual practices.
Condom use in the Philippines, for instance, is low. According to the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey, only 4 percent of young women use condoms during their first sexual intercourse.
But a change in perspective is happening.
In the article "State of the Pinay in 2012," Cosmopolitan Philippines finds that its readers are changing attitudes. When asked whether they would leave a man if the sex was bad, a lot say "yes."
Cosmo Philippines editor in chief Myrza Sison says it's a big change compared to 15 years ago when she first founded Cosmopolitan Philippines.
"Sexuality is undeniably an important aspect of a woman's or a man's or any human being's life for that matter. Having a safe and hopefully more than just satisfying sex life is just as important as having a great love life, or career life, or emotional life."
MYRZA SISON, COSMO PH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
The four agree: Filipinas need to embrace, understand, and appreciate their sexuality. This way, women are empowered in the bedroom and in other facets of life.
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila. -Rappler.com