May Newsletter WAS

May 2020

Greetings from WAS Media Committee

The Advisory Committee at WAS President’s Dinner event 

World Congress, Mexico City, October 2019

Your Advisory Committee Hard at Work: May Zoom Meeting

Dear El Armario Abierto,

We as the WAS Advisory Committee send best wishes to you all. We hope you are coping well with the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its implications for the sexual health of our world. We as the leadership of WAS are keeping our mission strong–to protect and promote sexual health and sexual rights–while maintaining our focus on keeping you up to date and informed about issues that affect us all.

Stay connected with us. Join our Facebook group, send in your ideas for how we can improve our communication strategies, and watch for occasional newsworthy e-alerts and quarterly newsletters for our WAS community. Please share our news updates with your lists whenever possible. Stay safe and healthy!

Dr. Patti Britton
WAS Media Committee Chair



Dear colleagues,

In these very difficult and trying times due to the COVID-19 pandemic I would like to share with all a message of solidarity and hope. In fact we are living an extraordinary challenge that threatens our health systems at the global level and also our way of life. An increasing number of countries from all continents are now living in exceptional or emergency state with several limitations to basic individual rights (mandatory confinement) and with a significant risk of collapse from national health systems and economic and social institutions endangering two of the most basic human rights – the rights to life and health.

The response to this pandemic is more than ever dependent on the collective involvement of all (from the health professionals in the front line, to all of us conforming to behaviors that prevent the spread of the virus).

During these trying times, sexual health and rights are also particularly exposed to additional risks. A recent editorial from the Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters Journal, called attention to the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in heightening gender inequities and the threats to the rights of the most marginalized (e.g., women and girls, refugees, migrants, people living with disability or HIV, sex workers, LGBTQIA+ people), as well as disrupting basic sexual and reproductive health services such as maternal health, contraceptive access or safe abortion. Moreover, “social and economic pressures may increase domestic and gender-based violence and sexual exploitation” (Hussein, 2020).

Therefore, in these exceptionally difficult times, more than ever, we should unite and  work together to defend and promote sexual health and rights for all. As president of the World Association for Sexual Health and in conjunction with our Executive Officers,  I would like to make a global call for action, to all organizations and professionals in the field.

WAS is creating a platform for an open forum on the impact of COVID-19 to sexual health and rights. We would like you to share your thoughts, ideas, plans of action, to defend and promote sexual health and rights. In the meantime, please use the following email:

Warm regards,
Pedro Nobre
President of the World Association for Sexual Health
Originally published on the WAS website


WAS Statement on COVID-19

Spotlight on WAS Leadership


Luis Perelman-Javnozon

I am a Sexuality Educator and social activist for sexual health, sexual rights and sexual diversity. I studied in the Mexican Institute of Sexology IMESEX, co-founded the first bookstore specializing in sexual health in Latin America, El Armario Abierto, which became a member of the Mexican Federation of Sexology FEMESS. I joined the Board and I am a former President. I’ve been a member of the WAS Advisory Committee since 2009, and I co-chaired the World Sexual Health Day Committee.

In diversity aspects, I co-founded the first Jewish Latin American group, now called Guimel, and the PFLAG-inspired 23-country network of activist parents, called Familias por la Diversidad Sexual. I have also participated in television and other media as an educator.

Born and raised in Mexico, I am fluent in Spanish, French, English, and intermediate Hebrew.

Why I volunteer

I decided that if I can help others have less difficult and complicated access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual health than I had, that would be my calling to change the world. I am also devoted to helping save LGBTQIA+ children from being thrown in the “garbage” by their parents, families and religious communities, and showing what family values of acceptance, love and support really are.

The late Sol Gordon gave me the best description of this when I met him at a WAS congress: What I was doing was sweet revenge for all my years of isolation, ignorance, shame, and fear.

I see WAS uniquely positioned as a worldwide organization of member organizations (even a Federation) to contribute where no one else dares to advocate openly and seriously about sexual rights and sexual health.


News Updates From Around the World

Actions of the Latin American Federation of the Sexology and Sexual Education Societies (FLASSES) During the Pandemic

FLASSES, aiming to increase the clarity about sexuality and the transmission of SARS-CoV2, sent to its affiliates the Spanish and Portuguese translation of the New York Department of Health document entitled “Sexuality and disease due to coranavirus 2019 “ which can be accessed below.

In the FLASSES Editorial Bulletin III, President Jaqueline Brendler, mentions the most vulnerable groups that include women who lived on informal work and lost their income, women victims of sexual violence, women in the health field who are over 70% of workers, sex workers, trans women and the LGBTIQ + group.

In that same Bulletin in the column “More than just Sex”, the President writes about “Gender and Sex in the pandemic by COVID-19” in three pages in order to reduce doubts and ask for help for fragile groups.

We wish you health and lots of love for everyone!

covid-sex-guidance.pdf [Internet]. [citado 22 de março de 2020]. Disponível em:


ESSM Congress in Prague

The World Association for Sexual Health organized and presented a symposium during the 22nd Congress of the European Society for Sexual Medicine, that took place in the Prague Congress Centre, Czech Republic, on January 23 to 25, 2020.

The theme of the session was “Sexual pleasure, sexual health & sexual rights: The new WAS declaration”. Pedro Nobre was the Chair of the symposium; he talked about “The new WAS declaration” and presented also a wonderful speech prepared by Ellen Laan on “Why sexual pleasure matters”. She could not be present but wanted to share the slides she prepared. Annamaria Giraldi spoke about “Why do we have sex?”; Stefano Eleuteri talked about “Integrating sexual pleasure for health care professionals”, Woet Gianotten discussed about “Bringing sex back into sexual medicine“.

More than 100 people attended the symposium.

In the Congress a WAS booth was set up with leaflets and bookmarks advertising the WAS meeting in South Africa in 2021 as well as prints of the WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights and Sexual Pleasure. Moreover, members of WAS were involved in different roles during the event, contributing to its scientific quality.


ACSHR Congress in Nairobi

The 9th African Conference on Sexual Health and Rights (ACSHR) was held in Nairobi from 10 to 14 February 2020 at the Kenyotta International Conference Center focused on: “Promoting sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women and girls in informal urban settlements”.

A WAS symposium was presented with the theme: “Sexual Health and Rights in Africa and Worldwide”. Participants have been Uwem Essiet – AFSHR President, Pedro Nobre –WAS President, Esther Corona – WAS Vice-President, Ítor Finotelli – WAS Secretary General, Osmo Kontula – WAS Sexual Education Committee Chair, Luis Perelman –World Sexual Health Committee Chair, Stefano Eleuteri – WAS Youth Initiative Committee Chair.

Commitment to sexual health and rights were the main themes of all the speeches, which were presented in an active and participatory way.

More than 150 people attended the symposium. The public actively participated with interest and attention and contributed with important feedback, observations, and ideas for reflection, further enriching the meeting.

Enormous interest has been expressed towards WAS and the WAS Congress!

After the African Congress, WAS also held its first ever Advisory Committee meeting in Africa, with attendees in person and via Zoom.


NAFSO Update

The Society for Sex Therapy and Research (SSTAR) held their annual meeting virtually for the first time on April 23 and 24th.

The American Association for Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) had to cancel their annual meeting that was scheduled for early June in Palm Springs, California.

The Society for Scientific Study of Sexuality is still planning its meeting in New Orleans, November 19-22, 2020.

Other member organizations continue their important work in the face of the COVID pandemic.


Message about Declaration on Sexual Pleasure

On October 15th 2019, WAS participants of the 24th World Congress in Mexico City made an unprecedented commitment to the importance of sexual pleasure in attaining sexual health ( Since last Fall, WAS’s Sexual Pleasure Task Force has been working to build the evidence base supporting the Declaration. Several new developments are in place. First, the International Journal of Sexual Health (IJSH), the official journal of WAS, has announced a Special Issue on Sexual Pleasure in Spring 2021. A series of papers have been invited for this important production including papers on the importance of sexual pleasure and sex education, sexual rights, healthcare utilization, programming, politics, measurement, vulnerable populations, and overall health and well-being. Abstracts for these articles are due in May. Draft articles are due in September.


Second, a special writing group will convene in the Fall of 2020 to draft an official technical document to support the Declaration on Sexual Pleasure and suggest any revisions to the Sexual Pleasure Declaration. This technical document will pull together key insights using all papers for the upcoming IJSH Special Issue. This technical document will be used to support the final Draft Declaration on Sexual Pleasure, which will be considered and hopefully officially adopted by WAS at the 25th World Congress meeting in South Africa in 2021.



WAS Sexuality Educator Network Connects on Facebook

WAS founded WAS Sexuality Education Network in the first meeting of this Network that was held WAS congress in Prague. Network members have since then communicated via emails. Coordinator of this Network has been a Chair of WAS Sexuality Education Committee Osmo Kontula. In WAS congress in Mexico City this Network had its second meeting and new members joined into this Network. In the end of 2019 WAS Sexuality Education Network had around 100 members around the world. 

Previously this Network communicated via e-mails but after Mexico City it wasn’t any more possible because email programs have nowadays limitations how many addresses can be in the e-mail list where all members can communicate with each other’s. Now mails can be sent to members one way via MailChimp program. That does not allow a free communication.

After request from Network members WAS has created in December 2019 a WAS Facebook group for sexuality educators. Moderator of this Facebook group is Osmo Kontula. All previous Network members have received via MailChimp an invitation and instructions how to join this Facebook group. All members were not in Facebook. At the moment WAS Facebook group for sexuality educators has 55 members.

All WAS members who have interest in sexuality education are now invited to join this Facebook Group, or the Network. They can join by sending request to join to Osmo Kontula’s email address. He will provide instructions how to join. You can also join by asking him to become your friend in Facebook.


Upcoming Events

The 25th Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health

Our theme is: “Leave no one behind” and we would certainly not like to leave you behind!The Southern African Sexual Health Association (SASHA) is very proud to host the 25th Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health in Cape Town, South Africa from 18 to 21 September 2021. We invite you to come to Africa to experience its magnificent natural beauty and warm hospitality.

Leading up to our next World Congress, WAS will soon be announcing timely, cutting-edge, monthly webinars, with scientific/advocacy updates in sexual health and sexual rights worldwide. We will update you with more information as plans unfold. 


15th Congress of the European Federation of Sexology

The European Federation of Sexology (EFS) has announced new dates for their 15th Congress in Aalborg, Denmark. has announced the new dates for the Aalborg Congress: June 10th-13th 2021.

Click here for more information.


20th Latin American Congress of Sexology and Sex Education

The Latin American Federation of the Sexology and Sexual Education Societies (FLASSES) has announced it is postponing their congress in Lima, Peru, to May 2021

Click here for more information.



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WAS has four categories of membership: organizational, individual, student and honorary (awarded by WAS). All categories enjoy interesting privileges of membership!

WAS has now two special offers – for organizations coming from least developed countries (one year free) and for WAS students with a special discount at the congress.

Learn more at WAS website (English information )