What does it actually mean to be ‘sex positive’?
What is this?
More broadly, sex positivity says that sex can be something positive in a person’s life.
Just more than that, though, says Texas-based sex educator goody Howard, sex positivity is the idea that people should have a space to embody, explore, and learn about their sexuality and sex without judgment or shame.
“It implies a lack of judgment and respect regarding gender diversity and gender expressions, as long as there is consent,” says trauma-focused therapist and sex educator Aida Mandoli, adding that sex positivity promotes a specific set of actions.
Above all else, sex positivity values consent, communication, education that allows people to make informed choices about their bodies, and pleasure.
Is it possible to be ‘sex-negative’?
In fact, it’s a safe bet that unless you’re actively working to become sex positive, you’re sex negative.
Don’t take it personally. It’s not you, exactly, it’s society.
Howard explains, ” sex negativity is inherent in the way our entire society works.”
“Sexual passivity asks girls to wear more clothes even on the hottest day before leaving the House,”says Howard. “She warns parents against breastfeeding in public even though this is the purpose of making breasts.”
Other examples of sexual passivity include:
- Violence towards sex workers, trans women, and women
- Abstinence-only sex education, sex education that teaches only about reproductive sex
- Purity charters
- Instagram shadow-banning sex teachers
- Slut-shaming and victim-blaming
- The” Good Girl “vs” Bad Girl”trope
“Sexual negativity approaches sexuality and gender from a place of fear, oppression and stigma,”says Mandoli.
Sexual passivity assumes that human sexuality is inherently:
- Fraught with danger
Where did this idea come from?
Psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich is often credited with coining the term in 1920 when he stated, Contrary to popular belief, that sex is actually a good and healthy thing.
As you might guess, the idea did not pick up much strength at that time. But during the sexual revolution of the 1960s, she got a second life.
Recently, the circulation of the term has intensified again as the current Trump administration has increasingly attacked the rights of sex workers and LGBT people — especially the rights of Black, Indigenous and other people of color.
What’s the point?
It is the removal of shame and judgment from sex, sexuality, sensuality.
“The control of shame and judgment is a miserable experience — it blocks your happiness, worsens your mental health, interferes with your life,” says Erica Smith, M. D., Ph.Ed , a Philadelphia-based sex educator and creator of the purity culture dropout program, which works with people who grew up with evangelical beliefs about sexuality.
Because sex and sexuality are broad concepts that are intertwined with all areas of our lives, Mandoli says, ” becoming sex-positive can be a tremendous source of Health, celebration, nurturing, healing, and well-being.”
In other words, the point is that it can significantly improve your entire life.
Do you have to have sex to be sex-positive?
Nope. “You don’t have to have sex to be sex positive,”says Smith.
“But you have to honestly believe that other people can have sex the way they want with whoever they want, as long as consent is involved,” she explains.
How to become sex-positive?
Full transparency, becoming sex positive requires:
- The time
- It’s hard work! But it’s a job worth doing.
“It takes constant dedication to become increasingly inclusive and conscious,”says Mandoli. “It requires a commitment to the practice of anti-oppressive philosophies and practices.”
According to Howard, the first step is to notice all the times you’re not sex-positive — most likely because you grew up in a sex-negative culture.
For example, “suppose you think of a” slut “when you see someone in the top crop,” says Howard. “Ask yourself: why react this way? Why did you feel that?”
Similarly, she says, if you find yourself judging someone for being polyamorous, ask yourself: Why does this make me uncomfortable? What steps do I need to take to stop feeling this way?
Then take these steps.
Where can you find out more?
Without much effort, @sexpositive_families is one of the best sex positive resources out there. It was created in June 2017 by Melissa Pintor Carnegie, a black and Latino sex educator and licensed social worker based in Austin, Texas.
“What’s so powerful about sex families is that it gives you the tools to check your negative sex behavior so you don’t pass these messages on to your kids,”Howard says.
Following, interacting with, and learning / getting rid of sex positive teachers and sex workers are great ways to become more sexually active
Some accounts to add to your Instagram feed: