The Pleasure Practice

Shelby Sixsmith and Aradhya Rattan

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Reframing the conversation around female pleasure as an integral part of our overall wellbeing.

The Pleasure Practice is a set of tools that prompt sexual exploration through embodied practice, free of judgement.

Everyone experiences and understands pleasure differently. Female pleasure has been misunderstood, under researched, stigmatized and censored for years. The socio-cultural contexts that surround female bodies has created a narrative that pushes women away from accepting themselves and being able to fully experience what pleasure means to them. The effects of this have been seen not only in the relationship women have with themselves, but in the accessibility of resources that help them experience comfortable and enjoyable sex. This project helps women situate themselves within these contexts to begin to deconstruct assumptions around sexual wellbeing.

Questions that stayed with us

How can sexual therapy research be made accessible to women through design?

How do we re-language pleasure to be separated from its societal contexts?

How do we bridge the gap between embodied practice and clinical practices?

“To be surrounded by other women who are able to see sex and their desire
as something to be proud of is a breath of fresh air

Learning from other women;
Creating empowering and inclusive spaces

We designed our own facilitation spaces, drawing inspiration from other women who hold workshops in encouraging female pleasure and open conversation around sex. We used workshop practices to help co-create and design our cards based on the experiences and feedback we received from women. These workshops played a big role in helping us discover how pleasure needed to be re-languaged to become accepting and encouraging.

The Kit

The process of discovering the tools for The Pleasure Practice was influenced by many different women, therapists, researchers and health professionals. Keeping in mind women who experience pelvic pain or women who are new to sexual exploration, The Mirror and Wand were designed based on sexual therapy practices. Together, they create prompts to reflect and ease you into pleasure practices without expectation.

The Mirror

The Mirror is a prompt to make friends with each curve of your body. It is designed to get to know your body through looking, caressing and massaging.

The Wand

The Wand is designed to ease you into sexual exploration. One end is small with a gentle curve and the other a bit larger for a different kind of stimulation. Unlike sex toys with intense vibration or mechanics the Wand is for slow intentional practice that is much more about discovery than any expectation of orgasm.

The Cards

The Cards are a set of interactive questions, prompts and affirmations that use embodied practice to help discover what pleasure can look like for you.

Shelby Sixsmith and Aradhya Rattan

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Shelby Sixsmith is an interdisciplinary industrial designer based in Vancouver,BC. Her work has always been influenced by her desired to bridge gaps in education, accessibility and inclusivity. This has led her towards design that values social and environmental equity. She hopes in the future this will take her into design spaces that allow her to work between science and design.

Aradhya Rattan (Ara) is a designer based in Vancouver, BC. Her work focuses on meeting social needs through education, community building or health design. She uses generative and co-creative methods in her practice. She hopes to continue working as a design researcher and facilitator in the future.

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