Sex-positivity – it’s something we hear a lot about lately and with good reason. People are more comfortable with their sexuality than their parents or grandparents might have been. They’re not just more comfortable talking about it, either. They’re exploring theirs to the fullest and embracing their sexuality in whatever way they like.
Still, the confusion as to what the sex-positivity movement is all about persists. At best, most people get things half right. Most get a lot of things wrong regardless, though. The following are some of the more common examples.
1. They think it’s about enjoying sex.
While it would be great if sex-positivity were that simple, it’s not. Sure, many sex-positive people are huge fans of sex and have as much of it as they can. That’s not a prerequisite for being sex-positive, though.
You can be sex-positive without ever having had sex or while preferring not ever to have it. You can even wholly dislike sex yourself while remaining a sex-positive person in general. Being sex-positive is about having a healthy attitude toward sex and sexual identity in general, not being sexually active oneself to any specific degree.
2. They think it means an end to boundaries.
Most of us know at least one person who uses the term “sex-positive” as code for an approach to sex that involves zero boundaries whatsoever. They think it means anything goes when it comes to sex and that there shouldn’t be anything a sex-positive person wouldn’t try if given a chance. They think it means that you like every possible sexual act under the sun as well, at least potentially.
Understanding and respecting boundaries – both your own and other people’s – is an essential part of the sex-positivity movement. Even the wildest freak you know has limits, but they may look a little different from yours. One of the most sex-positive things a person can do is identify their boundaries and learn how to communicate them to partners without shame or hesitation.
3. They think it’s about being down to get dirty all the time.
Being sex-positive isn’t about being horny and insatiable all the time. It’s not about being willing to get horizontal with absolutely anyone either. Lots of people who are sex-positive do have high sex drives. They may be open to options like group sex, sex parties, naughty evenings spent at sex clubs, and outside-the-box sex in all its many forms. That’s not what makes them sex-positive.
That said, don’t let anyone challenge your boundaries or refuse to take no for an answer by saying, “but I thought you were sex-positive.” You should probably drop that person like a hot potato because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Being sex-positive doesn’t require you to sleep with anyone and everyone at any given time.
4. They think it’s the same as liking casual sex.
Don’t get us wrong. Casual sex is fantastic and it’s a lot more socially acceptable than it used to be. It’s also a much more responsible choice than jumping into a huge emotional commitment with another person when you know you’re not ready for one (or that they’re not). Plus, there’s nothing like a quick hookup on a slow Saturday night to put the pep back in your step. That doesn’t mean the casual approach is right for everyone, though.
Sex-positivity recognizes sex as complex. Sometimes, and for some people, it’s all about having a good time and getting one’s rocks off. However, sex-positivity leaves room for the possibility that sex is all about commitment to other people. For still more folks, it might be painful, traumatic, or completely uninteresting.
5. They think it’s about being good at sex.
Being a sexual dynamo in the bedroom and being able to rock anyone’s world is the dream of a lot of people. Some may even reach that pinnacle at some point. That doesn’t necessarily make them sex-positive, though. Neither does a willingness to explore different fetishes or engage in various kinks (like BDSM, to name just one example), to live a polyamorous lifestyle, or anything else in particular.
Sex-positivity completely throws away the notion that some people are better at sex than others. So long as all involved are consenting, there’s no such thing as a wrong way to be sexual or to engage in sexual activity with yourself or others. Sex-positivity is inclusive, and there’s room for everyone at the table from the kinkiest kinkster to the shyest, most vanilla person ever born.
The more aware you become of what sex-positivity is and isn’t, the more comfortable you’ll become with it as an idea. Are you sex-positive? If so, what does the term mean to you, and how does it influence your approach to sex?