Introduction Claude is a highly innovative sexual health promotion website and service for women who play with women, primarily within a kink or BDSM context. ACON has a long history of working with marginalised sexual communities and identified priority populations. Recent research has identified women connected with kink or BDSM scenes engage in sexual practices such as blood play (for example piercing and cutting), fisting, and sex with multiple partners, which have higher risks for both STIs and BBVs. The website iloveclaude.com provides targeted sexual health information, safety tips, free play packs (including safe sex resources, information, and materials), and a list of queer- and kink-friendly health services. Its innovation lies in its use of creative pursuits such as photography, writing, performance and video art, and the ways in which the strategies for health promotion focus on sexual practice rather than sexual identity.
This paper will discuss the initial qualitative research that led to the formation of Claude: Kath Albury’s 2011 “Safer Sex Beliefs and Practices in Multi-Partner Heterosexuals”. This research concluded that women within the swingers, kink, and BDSM scenes were at a higher risk of STI and BBV transmission. This paper will outline the barriers to safe sex practice identified by Albury’s research, and explain how Claude and the website iloveclaude.com were formulated as a response to these issues. This paper will focus on two of the main barriers to safe practice: 1) Discrepancy between self-identification as heterosexual, and the actual nature of sexual practice; and 2) Lack of access to specific targeted sexual health resources. Outlining how the Claude project was formulated to implement recommendations from this research regarding STI education and prevention, this paper will discuss the challenges of sexual health promotion within a diverse and often marginalised community.
Claude is run by the ACON Lesbian and Same Sex Attracted Women’s Sexual Health Project.
Disclosure of interest statement ACON acknowledges its primary funder, the NSW Ministry of Health. ACON has not received pharmaceutical grants for this work.