National Penis Day, Thursday 5th September
Remember your member on the 5th of September!
for immediate release
With National Penis Day looming tomorrow, the AIDS Foundation is reminding media of key points about the campaign and the day:
- National Penis Day has been declared to raise awareness of men’s health, and especially men’s sexual health, issues, and to dispel some of the shame and embarrassment surrounding men’s sexuality.
- In an ironic illustration of some of the themes of the campaign, billboards featuring completely non-erotic images of naked men and others featuring text only, have been rejected as “obscene’.
- Copies of the rejected billboard and of examples of acceptable images (Michelangelo’s “David’, the Giant of Cerne Abbas) have been distributed to media. It will be interesting to see which media publish them!
- Media have also received a pack of material containing information about men’s sexuality and sexual health and supporting illustrations. The intention has been to resource whatever style of coverage is chosen by a media organisation from fun to deadly serious.
The AIDS Foundation says that its principal concern is to persuade men to use condoms, and explains the relevance of National Penis Day, and the following campaign on men’s health, as follows:
- Social taboos around sexuality, and men’s sexuality in particular, create an environment of shame and embarrassment.
- Shame and embarrassment lead to men not talking about sex, but just doing it.
- Men’s feelings about what is expected of them (their construction of masculinity) lead them to want very badly to appear knowledgeable and to be in control in sexual situations.
- These factors lead to men making dangerous assumptions about their partner’s HIV status, the risk of the sex being undertaken, and trusting to luck.
- Men’s attitudes to their own health (denial of problems, toughing them out, not seeking help) are linked to denial of risk in sexual behaviour, and not taking care of self or partner.
Key focuses for the campaign are:
- Men need to take better care of themselves and their sexual partners, to reject some aspects of traditional masculinity and take responsibility for safe sex.
- Health service providers, particularly in primary care, need to do better at making their services appropriate for men to visit.
- Everyone needs to work to normalise sexuality and to create a more open environment in which sexual issues can be freely discussed. We need to finally shake off the bizarre attitudes and values of Victorian England and embrace the approach to sexuality epitomised by Scandinavian countries.
For further comment please contact Kevin Hague, Executive Director