You've definitely seen the word "sex-positive" thrown around with hashtags like #FreeTheNipple, #EffYourBeautyStandards, and #SexualHealthIsHealth.
Sex positivity is a way of being that replaces guilt with pleasure and judgement with freedom. It's more than unabashed nudity, rowdy threesomes, and STI testing on a regular basis.
But what's it, precisely?
In its broadest definition, sex positivity claims how sex may be a positive influence in a person's life.
More than that, sex positivity is the notion that people should be free to express, explore, and learn about their sexuality and gender without fear of being judged or shamed.
Is it possible to have a 'sex-negative' attitude?
In fact, unless you're actively attempting to become sex-positive, it's a reasonable chance that you're sex-negative.
But don't take it personally. It is society, not you, that is the problem.
Sex animosity is embedded in the way we live as a culture.
Sex negativity encourages girls to dress up even on the warmest days before leaving the house. It's criticizing parents for breastfeeding in public, despite the fact that this is what breasts were designed for.
Other instances of sex animosity include:
- violence against sex workers, trans women, and women in general
- sex education that focuses solely on abstinence and sex education that focuses solely on reproductive sex
- pacts of purity
- Sex educators are being shadow-banned on Instagram.
- humiliating sluts and blaming victims
- "Good girl" vs. "bad girl" is a popular cliche.
Sex negativity takes a fearful, oppressive, and stigmatising perspective to sex and sexuality.
The assumption behind sex negativity is that human sexuality is inherently:
Where did this concept originate?
In the 1920s, psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich is credited with coining the word when he said that, contrary to common thought, sex is a positive and healthy thing.
As you can expect, the notion didn't gain much traction at the time. It was given a second life during the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
The word has recently resurfaced as the current Trump administration has intensified its attacks on the rights of sex workers, queer and trans people, and especially Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour.
Is it necessary to have sex in order to be sex-positive?
To be sex-positive, you don't need to have sex. However, you must honestly feel that other people are free to have sex with whomever they choose as long as consent is given.
What steps do you take to become sex-positive?
To be completely transparent, becoming sex-positive necessitates:
It's a lot of work! But it's labour that's worthwhile.
It necessitates a constant commitment to becoming more inclusive and conscious. It necessitates a dedication to anti-oppressive ideologies and behaviours.
The first step, according to Howard, is to recognise all of the times you're not being sex-positive, which is likely due to your upbringing in a sex-negative culture.
"Let's say you think 'slut' when you see someone in a crop top," Howard explains. "Describe why you reacted in the way that you did." "Could you explain to me what caused you to be so upset?"
Similarly, if you find yourself criticising someone because they are polyamorous, ask yourself, "What makes me uncomfortable about that? "Can you tell me what measures I need to take to just get rid of this emotion?"
Then go ahead and take those measures.
What isn't sex positivity?
Being sex positive doesn't always imply an increased frequency of sexual conduct, sexual encounters, or sexual desire, but it does imply an openness and non-judgmental attitude toward engaging in sex, talking about sex, and listening to other people talk about sex.
Being sex positive does not exempt you from the requirement of consent. It's not about pushing people to have a specific sexual orientation, have a certain number of partners, or engage in specific sex acts. Expectations and pressure around sexuality are essentially anti-sex positive. Consent is required at all times.
Why is sex positivity becoming increasingly popular these days?
Sex positivity is a political and social movement as well as a notion that individuals identify with.
One of the ideas that sparked the movement was that sexuality has long been viewed as clandestine, shameful, and harmful, and that being openly sexual in any way—whether it's talking about it or having talks about it—is bad. 'Hey, wait a second, this is a part of our normal growth,' the [sex positive] movement wants to say. And it's not always unhealthy or humiliating to have these dialogues, to engage in sex exploration when consent, trust, and communication are all part of the sexual process.'
It's been a long time since there was a movement like this. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Amber Rose, Jessica Biel, and Lizzo, according to Burnes, have recently sparked more debates around sex positivity after openly discussing their experiences with slut shaming, sexuality, sexual assault, body acceptance, and sexual health and responsibility. Yes, even The Bachelorette has contributed to the growth of this habit.
The Whole Thing of sex positivity is to remove guilt and judgement from sex, sexuality, and sensuality.
Guilt and judgment govern your life, limiting your pleasure, deteriorating your mental health, and disrupting your life. Being sex-positive can be a huge source of health, celebration, nourishment, healing, and well-being since sex and sexuality are such vast concepts that interact with all aspects of our lives.
To put it another way, it has the ability to make a major difference in your entire life.