Although it seems as if the world has been going under progressive social change faster than the speed of light over the past decade, the concept of sex positivity is relatively new – and often misunderstood. When I tell people I’m sex-positive, I’m met with a number of mixed responses; some wonder whether I’m a sex addict, some believe I endorse every kink known to humankind, and some think it means I enjoy being overly vocal about sex all of the time. And whilst sex positivity can involve having sex a fair number of times, exploring kinks, and expressing sexual opinions, it’s equally important to realise that it’s all and none of the above at the same time! Confused? Let me explain.
For starters, sex positivity benefits everyone. No matter your preferences, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or political beliefs, sex positivity will benefit you. Sex positivity involves accepting different types of sex – whether it’s anything from the number of people involved to whether or not it’s penetrative – and different sexualities with an open mind; it’s an openness that allows people to explore themselves and one another in a way in which everyone is comfortable in their own flesh.
Even though the mindset applies to endless sexual acts and sexualities, sex positivity respects your decision not to engage in sexual activity at all. Regardless as to whether it’s for personal, political, or professional reasons, sex positivity accepts you wholeheartedly. Your preferences are just as valid.
Oftentimes, people will interpret sex positivity as allowing people to get away with heinous sex crimes under the justification that people are unable to control their desires. This is not the case. Beyond one’s own personal preferences, the sex-positive mindset stresses one very important concept: consent. If a sexual act doesn’t involve consenting adults then it’s no longer an act that can be deemed as sex-positive. Instead, it’s a crime. It’s that simple.
While some people may question what the big deal with acceptance is, the answer should be painfully obvious. Like with allergies, intolerances, and preferences, we need to respect the needs and desires of those around us; if we don’t, the consequences can be dire. That said, the way we learn about sex and sexuality should follow a similar pattern; the environments should be open spaces for learning, free of judgement and shame. Creating environments that aren’t sex positive is comparable to inviting all of your vegan friends to a slaughterhouse barbeque; nobody at that barbecue is going to have any fun! Needless to say, if you put something for everyone on the table, it’ll make it more enjoyable for everyone, not just a select few – a message that applies to both eating and eating out.
So, the next time someone starts telling you about their respective kinks, there’s no need to judge, to think how you would never try doing it yourself, or that they’re freaks; that doesn’t help anyone, especially not you. All you have to do is accept – you can accept people have varying interests and desires without testing those interests and desires yourself. And, who knows, you might even end up giving that kink a try further down the road! Whatever you do, just know that sex positivity has your back.