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TRCH David Suchet

No Fake Orgasms: The 30 Day Merch Campaign Raising Money for Sex Education Charity Fumble

2 April 21 illustrations: Alison Squires

Frustrated by the lack of education for young people around consensual and pleasurable sex, artist and fitness coach Rebecca Ounstead has created No Fake Orgasms, a clothing collection designed to shout loudly and proudly about her effort to de-stigmatise not climaxing...

Where did the idea for No Fake Orgasms come from?
It came from my own frustration! Sex education is still too heavily focussed on hetero-male pleasure and avoiding pregnancy, and I just feel that we deserve so much more than this – It’s time to broaden the conversation. Sex is about more than just penetrative sex or achieving climax. I wanted to get people talking about orgasms – both how to achieve them and normalise NOT having them. I wanted to encourage exploring, discussing and communicating with your partners about what you like and dislike, so we can all work towards having healthy, consensual and fulfilling sexual relationships. It’s not just about orgasms, it’s about pleasure for people of all genders.

I also think there can be too much focus on the responsibility of females to determine their desires and communicate them to their partner. While I, of course, believe women should express their desires, it is no more the woman’s responsibility to do so than anyone else’s. Regardless of our gender, we are all responsible for that communication. It’s about creating a safe environment for people to do so. The No Fake Orgasm campaign intends to open up conversations around safe, consensual and pleasurable sex.

The clothing was just an idea of mine that I wanted to pursue, and I asked Emily De Aguilar (@e.egda) as a young female designer to help me bring it to fruition. I try to do a couple of charitable projects per year to raise money and awareness on certain topics. I usually do this through my business as a health and fitness coach (find me at @s.c.u.l.p.t)  but I have also donated my hair to raise money for the Little Princess Trust too. 

You have chosen to give the designs a “seventies soft-porn aesthetic” using the font Armante. What made you gravitate towards this particular style?
I like the aesthetics of seventies soft-porn titles, and I love the titles for the softcore film Emmanuelle. I like how this aesthetic adds a softness to such a bold statement. I wanted the words to catch your eye but for it not to feel too aggressive. Emily chose this font – by female font-designer Karolina Lach – based on this brief. 

Can you tell us any more about the collection’s design?
The t-shirts and jumpers will be available in white and black with the text ‘NO FAKE ORGASMS’ across the front centre... you’ll have to check them out to see the colourways! They are unisex, and we hope people will make them their own as they see fit.

Why do you think young people feel pressured to fake orgasms?
This isn’t easy to answer, but I think it’s partly to do with our education and access to resources from a young age. Our education is mostly around avoiding pregnancy and safe sex, not about consensual and mutual pleasure. I think a lot of people learn from porn or movies – which of course is performed sex for entertainment, and we have to remember this is not a real experience. A lot of women start to have sex before they have started to explore their solo sexuality – this can be for all kinds of reasons, but cultural and social pressures definitely have a part to play, which I think can also be part of the problem. A lot of women I have spoken with have had sex with a partner before experiencing a solo orgasm.

I’m hoping it will build confidence in young people particularly to start these conversations and take ownership of their pleasure experience.

What do you remember about your own sex education at school?
It was incredibly limited – but this was quite a number of years ago now. I remember learning about pregnancy and STIs, and I remember feeling like sex was predominantly for men and something we performed or did for men – I felt extremely underserved! I didn’t learn anything about non-hetero sexuality or non-cis genders, and not much was covered in terms of consent either. It didn’t help me feel prepared for a life of sexual experiences.

When you personally decided to look for more information on pleasure, where did you turn?
I am still very much on this journey. I have attended sex parties and workshops, I like to read and write erotica (check out the latest issue of MOAN zine which I have work featured in). I started opening up the communication with my partners as much as possible, I had therapy, I journalled. I spent time exploring my solo sexuality; a lot of tools have helped me on my ongoing journey.

What sort of conversations do you hope this project will open up for young people?
I am hoping it will normalise talking about pleasure, and all that surrounds it. De-stigmatising not climaxing, erectile dysfunction, sex anxiety and all of that stuff. I’m hoping it will build confidence in young people particularly to start these conversations and take ownership of their pleasure experience.

You’re keen to stress that this project is aimed at everybody, not just hetero-females. Who else do you think could learn from the project, and what would you like them to take away from it?
I wanted to make a bold statement that caught people's attention. And although I use the term orgasm, really I wanted to discuss faking pleasure as a whole. That could be theatrical noises, or not communicating what you do or don’t enjoy and so on. Plus, typically we think of it being just females who fake an orgasm – partly due to the narrative sold to us in movies and porn… enter Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally – but I’ve heard stories from men too. I wanted to initiate conversations between people of all genders that are engaging in sexual pleasure. 

100% of the profits will be going to the charity Fumble. Why is their work so important for young people?
A lot of young people are now finding their resources online, particularly social media platforms, so Fumble being a free online sex education and sex-positive platform by young people, for young people, seemed like a great organisation to support. People can also donate to Fumble via their website and host events or fundraisers.

When is the campaign launching? 
It launches Thursday 1 April and will only run for thirty days. We are running it through Print Social, a pre-sale platform where the merchandise is printed after the sale period ends, so there will be no waste. The t-shirts will be £20 and the jumpers will be £30. 

Are there any future plans in the pipeline?
I have lots of ideas, but no plans to speak of just yet. I will be part of a group panel for an online event hosted by MOAN in April too, so check out their Instagram for details. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 
Please send me stories of your fake orgasms! Send your message to @mama.papa.89 on Instagram, where I will post them anonymously throughout the month of April. The more voices, the better!

To support the campaign or purchase, please click HERE. 

fumble.org.uk 

@fumble.uk

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