Who we are
Sex and relationships have a huge impact on young people’s lives, but many live in regions where information about sexual health and rights is censored or taboo. These sorts of taboos include anything from masturbation to condom use, from sex before marriage to abortion, and are often reinforced by religion, politics and other social pressures.
The lack of effective communication around sex and sexuality often gets in the way of tackling global health concerns, with people preferring to suffer in silence and avoid shame rather than seek help.
Our aim is to create the space for these young people to make informed choices, in order to have safer, healthier and happier sex and relationships. We do this primarily through a series of responsive websites, social media channels and online campaigns, which offer plain-speaking information on love and sex, as well as playful and thought-provoking articles, testimonials, blogs and advice columns.
We operate at the intersection between media and public health, specialising in media for social change. Harnessing the power of technology, popular culture, design thinking and storytelling, Love Matters seeks to bridge the gap between young people, SRHR oganisations and experts and service providers.
Love Matters is currently available in five languages across five regions. Our current target countries are Kenya, Uganda (English) China (Mandarin), Egypt (Arabic), Mexico and Venezuela (Spanish), India (English and Hindi). In each situation, we work closely with our target audiences to co-create persuasive content, and with local partners to create space for debate and transformation.
Our mission is to connect communities and change makers through innovative use of media and training to enable young people to make informed choices.
Our vision is that informed people shape a better future.
The “Pleasure Principle”
Talking about sexual pleasure is at the core of our engagement strategy.
Rather than using secrecy, silence and shame to try and prevent people from having (risky) sex, we use pleasure as a hook to have difficult conversations with millions of young men and women around the globe.
This pleasure-positive approach, coupled with web, mobile and social media platforms, allows us to deliver science and rights based sexual health information directly into the hands of young people.
We’ve found that across all our sites our “pleasure” pages are more than eight times more popular than our family planning pages. The “sexier” content serves as a gateway to other information resources, including risk reduction and disease prevention.
This unique demand-led, pleasure-positive approach to sexual health education is reaching people many sexual and reproductive health organisations are failing to engage with.
We regularly get questions from our audience like:
“She cries when I have sex with her, should I stop?”
“I’m pregnant. Should I tell my husband I’m HIV positive?”
These young people are at a decision-making crossroads and in need of information. They do not see themselves as perpetrators of sexual violence or human rights abusers, so it’s important to use pleasure-positive language that encourages them to make well informed decisions.
To us, talking about what feels good isn’t a luxury: it is essential for our bottom-line.
In many developing countries, access to Internet and mobile phones is growing. We are seeing that young people are early adopters of mobile technology, often prioritising buying mobile phones with a data plan over other commodities.
As long as you have Internet, you can access Love Matters anonymously, privately, and whenever and wherever you want to. This allows young people to bypass traditional gatekeepers and get the information they need to make the decisions which are right for them.
Our online spaces provide a safe and anonymous place for people to question, debate and satisfy their curiosity around sexual health, rights and relationships, while our users can chose whether they simply read our content or extend their interaction to engage more directly through social media or by using the discussion board.
Social Media Channels
Our presence across major social media channels is essential when it comes to engagement and community building. It allows us to share content with our audience, as well as ensure that their opinions and experiences are heard through their comments and conversations with each other. Our social media channels allow us to create and nurture long-term communities of interest around SRHR all over the world. We receive hundreds of messages and comments every day.
The discussion board
The Love Matters discussion boards are a safe and anonymous space for young people to directly communicate with sexual and reproductive health professionals. The boards greatly increase our ability to answer questions and facilitate discussion, as well as give voice to our communities. The material generated by these boards also helps shape our content in order to accurately reflect our audience’s interests and needs.
In 2013 Love Matters received the “Award for Excellence & Innovation in Sexuality Education” by the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS)