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Bring me my arrows of desire

October 15th, 2008

Dr Petra

The stereotyped image of the Women’s Institute (WI) is a rather stuffy instution made up of home counties ladies of a certain age who make jam and sing the hymn Jerusalem.

However, over the years the WI have astonished us with a calendar to raise funds for leukaemia that featured a group of WI members posing naked (this story later became the blockbuster film Calendar Girls). More recently they have taken a brave and overwhelmingly sensible voice in the increasingly hysterical debate on prostitution, where the WI have been calling for prostitution to be decriminalised and encouraging us to listen to the voices of sex workers.

And this week they’ve managed to come up with something equally groundbreaking. The organisation has launched a series of free films that cover a range of topics relating to sex and relationships. These include information film about sexually transmitted infections, safer sex (including condom use), information on how to manage the practicalities of sex as you get older, and tips on how to spice up your sex life (including information about sex toys).

Hosted by a qualified therapist and WI member Janice Langley the films are clear, engaging and informative. The WI has a wide membership of women of all ages and these films reflect a wide range of sexual questions and experiences. They contain some really useful information about managing sex if you have health problems (for example after a stroke or with arthritis), and are helpful in raising the issue of STIs for an older age group who traditionally have missed out on sex education in this area and are increasingly at risk from contracting infections.

The press coverage has been pretty positive, and it’s been nice to see older women talking about sex in such a positive manner.

You can see the range of films here. Enjoy!

Whether you’re a member of the WI or not the clips are well worth watching

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