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Ana Autoestima

Ana Autoestima is the a pleasure-focused sexuality education messaging service for adult women in Brazil. The initiative was co-created with women from Favelinha, a favela (shantytown) community in the northern periphery of Rio de Janeiro, who believe that understanding and practicing one’s pleasure is key in developing self-esteem. It was tested in 2022 with support from The Pleasure Project, and in 2023 is being scaled to more communities with support from DTK International through the Phil Harvey SRHR Innovation Award and from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation through the Quality Innovation Challenge (in partnership with The Pleasure Project).


Ana Autoestima’s objective is to include all people who identify as women, although she promotes her services in favela communities across Rio, so as to reach those women who are furthest removed from sources of comprehensive sexuality education.

Ana’s friends (service users) face multiple barriers to access both information and services, and often report being subjected to judgement and biased information if/when they seek out sexual health services.

Here is how Ana talks differently to them:

Program Summary

Ana Autoestima breaks the narratives of disease and unwanted pregnancy prevention by normalizing pleasure as a key motivator to consensual sexual encountersShe takes into consideration that her friends (service users) have varying levels of understanding of their bodies, their pleasure, and their sexual health. Ana therefore talks about:


  1. Sexual and non-sexual pleasure, erogenous zones, desire vs. arousal

  2. What bodies with vulvas and bodies with penises can be like - anatomy and physiology, and how every body is it’s own world

  3. Masturbation as a means of self-discovery and self-pleasure

  4. Orgasms - the changes bodies can go through during sexual activity to (maybe) reach different types of orgasms, and reframing orgasms from being the only goal to sex

  5. The ins and outs of how sex works, and expanding the concept of sexual intercourse from penis-in-vagina sex to include non- and other penetrative encounters, activity between people of the same sex assigned at birth, etc.

  6. Pleasure and contraceptives - how contraceptives can be sexy!

  7. Pleasure in partnered sex, the importance of knowing what feels feels pleasurable so one can communicate about it, how to get to know one’s partner’s/partners’ body/bodies, and (sexy) consent.

Sample of Ana’s content on WhatsApp Status

“The sex-positive and pleasure-positive information Ana [shares] is not about how others feel about us, but about how we perceive ourselves, and how we feel about ourselves.”

Evelyn, Project Ideator & Service User

Impact Model


Our team is made of up marvelous women that bring Ana Autoestima to life with a range of experiences and identities that aim to make her content instructive, relevant and inclusive of all of Ana’s (potential) friends.

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Evelyn Nunes dos Santos

Project Ideator and Advisor & Pleasure Promoter

Luana Nunes dos Santos

Project Ideator and Advisor & Pleasure Promoter

Laura Ramos Tomás

Project Ideator & Project Lead & Content Creator (sexuality educator lens)

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Luciana Monteiro

Content Creator (AI Voice) & Photographer/ Videographer

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Jacqueline Cruz

Event Facilitator &

Focus Group Moderator

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Tayana Leôncio

WhatsApp Group Manager & Engagement Specialist

Geovana Sadcovitz

Content Editor & Creator (Animations), Social Media

Juliana Matassoli

Content Creator (Animations)


Beyond our core Team, Ana grows, evolves and learns with and from other marvelous women who contribute their expertise and perspectives to the initiative.

Lupita de Azevedo da Silva

Project Ideator and Advisor & Pleasure Promoter

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Jaciara Moreira

Project Ideator and Advisor & Pleasure Promoter

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Nina Millen

Ana Autoestima Character Illustrator

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Fernanda Bonato

Content creator

(clinical sexology lens)

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Jéssica Mayra Ferreira

Content Creator (pelvic floor practitioner lens)

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Nayara Fausto

Content Creator (SUS Nurse lens)

Manoela Menandro

Content Creator (diversity and inclusion lens)

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Thamyres Zanirati dos Santos

Content Creator (SUS Doctor lens)

Check Ana out on Insta

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