Images are an important part of sexuality education and any form of educational materials about sex and sexuality. It allows learners to see and identify with realistic images of bodies and sexualities. Education and information about sex and sexuality, both offline and online, can provide a safe space for learning and are often one of the main place(s) that have the potential to expose young people to real and diverse images about sexuality, free from stigma and judgement.
Images are powerful in building inclusive and diverse views, but also have the power to reinforce stigmas in society. Often we don’t miss what we don’t see but images do impact the way we inform and experience ourselves and our sexual self. At the same time, if you are a person who is not represented in many of the images you see, then the images lack validity and can lead to feeling ostracised. The work we do is never unbiased and without intention, we can give (subliminal) prejudiced messages, especially through deciding what we show and do not show in images we use around sexuality education.
In recent years, the use of inclusive and pleasure-positive language has gained more attention in sexuality education and there are many guides available to make sexuality education truly inclusive and comprehensive. Now it’s time to do the same for the images we use in our education materials!
Sexuality educators may not have the time, energy and budget to find or develop comprehensive and pleasure-positive images for their work. This is why we have started evaluating and collecting sources and images that inspire and tell an inclusive, nuanced and pleasure-focused story. This library aims to inspire you and provide you with an accessible and easy-to-use platform through which to find quality sources. The library is open-access and ever-evolving. We invite you to evaluate the resources and add your sources to the library as well!
This guide is for anyone working in sexuality education and information, online and offline and who wants to use images that support the content of your education and information. It will help to improve your understanding of the breadth of imagery available for use and thus education and will contribute to a better understanding of sex and sexuality education. This guide will help you to identify and use sex-positive images of good quality in your sexuality education using 4 simple criteria, that the images are; realistic, sex-positive, inclusive, and evidence-based. We will explain the importance of these four criteria, how to look out for them and share go’s and no go’s. Additionally, you can learn all about how to use images designed by others by correctly quoting and crediting the artists.
Read the full guide here.