Press Release

The 1st ever Global Authority on Sexual Health and Wellbeing Launched

Leading academics, activists, healthcare professionals promote the ‘Holy Grail’ of sexual health, rights and pleasure to ensure a positive approach to sexuality


LONDON, 23 August 2017 – Durex, the world’s leading sexual wellbeing brand, today announces the formation of the pre-eminent Global Advisory Board for Sexual Health and Wellbeing (GABSHW).


Experts from around the world have joined forces to understand the links between sexual pleasure, sexual health and sexual rights. The newly formed Board, with their combined and world-renowned experience, is committed to ensuring a holistic approach embracing research, education, training, policies and programmes, without distinction or discrimination.  Durex believes everyone has the right to a healthy and fulfilling sex life.


The role of the GABSHW will be to address:

  1. Growing backlash against sexual rights in many corners of the world
  2. Retrenchment by many governments on previous commitments such as in the area of comprehensive sexuality education or access to family planning services
  3. Addressing the shortage of practical resources for health professionals to provide sex-positive advice


Too often, sexual health issues are framed around the absence of disease. Policy, programmes and even advocacy efforts can take highly negative approaches that emphasize what can go wrong if sex is not practiced safely, with little attention to the benefits of a fulfilling, pleasurable and safe sex life.


According to the 2016 Global Sex Study conducted by Durex, the proportion of respondents saying they have the freedom to practise their sexual rights varies from country to country, with 75% of respondents from around the world agreeing they have the freedom to practise their sexual rights. The lowest country result was only 58%, showing that in some parts of the world a significant share of the population feel they lack this freedom – and that actions are needed to close this gap.


As one of its tasks, the Board is addressing the shortage of practical resources for health professionals to provide sex-positive advice. Board members are working with medical students from around the world to develop a first-of-its kind toolkit that seeks to enhance understanding of the links between sexual health, sexual rights and sexual pleasure using of ‘sex-positive’ language to empower health professionals across geographies and cultural sensitivities.


Sofia Gruskin, Chair of the Global Advisory Board and Director for the Program on Global Health & Human Rights at the University of Southern California notes:


 “Supporting people’s rights to sexual pleasure is hindered by the lack of internationally agreed upon definitions. Our first task will be to create a definition of sexual pleasure, and demonstrate its linkages to sexual health and sexual rights. Having that in place means we can now use our varied and collective experience to create meaningful improvement in the lives of millions of people around the world”. 



Note to Editors

The Global Advisory Board holds three core principles at its centre: 

  • To use the GABSHW developed ‘triangle of sexual health, sexual rights and sexual pleasure’ to ensure a positive approach to sexuality;
  • To have a positive impact on all people’s sexual lives, with special attention to young people;
  • To be inclusive of all populations.


The Board’s unique area of focus is advocating for greater attention to the relationship between sexual health, sexual rights, and sexual pleasure in all domains. There is an urgent need in the current discourse around sexuality to address the meaningful interdependence and connection of these three areas.


The Board includes senior advisers to UN agencies and International Organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF), founders of youth sexual health organisations, advocates, academics, activists and global media thought-leaders:


  • Chair – Sofia Gruskin, Director, Program on Global Health & Human Rights and Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) (USA)

  • Antón Castellanos-Usigli, Public Health professional, Founding Chair of the Youth Committee, World Association for Sexual Health (USA / Mexico)
  • Doortje Braeken, Former Senior Advisor for Adolescents and Young People at the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) (Netherlands)
  • Eszter Kismödi, International Human Rights Lawyer on Sexual and Reproductive Health Law, Policy and Research (Hungary)
  • Gvantsa Khizanishvili, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Advisor, World Contraception Day Ambassador for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Georgia)
  • Lyubov Erofeeva, Director General at All-Russian Association for Population and Development (IPPF member) (Russia)
  • Pauline Oosterhoff, Research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (UK)
  • Tlaleng Mofokeng, Founding member and Vice Chairperson of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition of South Africa (SRJCZA) (South Africa)
  • Vithika Yadav, Head of Love Matters India / RNW (India)


Defining Sexual Pleasure


“Sexual pleasure is the physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment derived from solitary or shared erotic experiences, including thoughts, dreams and autoeroticism.


Self-determination, consent, safety, privacy, confidence and the ability to communicate and negotiate sexual relations are key enabling factors for pleasure to contribute to sexual health and wellbeing. Sexual pleasure should be exercised within the context of sexual rights, particularly the rights to equality and non-discrimination, autonomy and bodily integrity, the right to the highest attainable standard of health and freedom of expression. The experiences of human sexual pleasure are diverse and sexual rights ensure that pleasure is a positive experience for all concerned and not obtained by violating other people’s human rights and wellbeing.” (GAB 2016)


For more information visit


About RB*

RB is the global leading consumer health and hygiene company. Driven by a purpose of providing innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes, RB has operations in over 60 countries. From the foundations of wellness and infant nutrition, to the fundamentals of a hygienic home, its global brands help people live healthier, happier lives.


RB has world leading Powerbrands which include household names such as Enfamil, Nutramigen, Nurofen, Strepsils, Gaviscon, Mucinex, Durex, Scholl, Clearasil, Lysol, Dettol, Veet, Harpic, Cillit Bang, Mortein, Finish, Vanish, French’s, Calgon, Woolite and Air Wick.


RB’s unique culture is at the heart of its success. Its drive to achieve, passion to outperform and commitment to quality and scientific excellence are manifested in the work of over 40,000 employees worldwide. RB is proud to lead the Save a Child a Minute campaign, which aims to eliminate child deaths from diarrhoea, one of the world’s largest killers of children under five.


For more information visit 

*RB is a trading name of Reckitt Benckiser group of companies


About Durex

Durex® is the #1 sexual wellbeing brand worldwide, producing a wide range of products, including high quality condoms, intimate lubricants and personal massagers.


With over 80 years of experience in the bedroom, Durex is dedicated to inspiring lovers to love sex safely. That is why Durex will never stop innovating with new products that enhance the sexual experience, helping couples get closer and go further together. For more information, go to


About the Global Advisory Board

The Global Advisory Board (GAB) for Sexual Health and Wellbeing was established in 2016 to advocate for a positive and inclusive approach to sexuality.


The Board is an independent group that has come together in recognition of the lack of equal attention to sexual health, sexual rights and sexual pleasure in research, education, training, policies and programmes regarding sexuality. 


The GAB aims to highlight the importance of considering sexual health, sexual rights and sexual pleasure equally and to provide a call to action to global organisations, policy makers, NGOs and governments to achieve a rights based perspective on sexuality in policy, law, practice and research. 

 For more information visit


Media contact

Name: Doug Miller or Jess Sullivan


Phone: 020 7526 3600