Tuesday, March 5, 2024

What Does It Mean To Be Sex Positive?

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The term ‘sex positive’ has been kicking around for a while now, and it is gaining recognition as one of the most important aspects of modern day relationships. The concept began in the 1960s, when sexual liberation saw people reject oppressive values and take ownership of their own sexuality. In more recent years, sex positivity has become a central part of both individual and collective life. So just what does it mean to be sex positive?

To understand the sex positive movement, it’s important to look at what it stands against – namely sex negativity, shame, and restrictive attitudes towards sex. Sex negativity is often rooted in puritanical, sexist and homophobic beliefs, and its aim is to control and restrict sexual expression. Sex positivity flips this script, encouraging freedom and respect towards sexuality.

What Are the Core Values of Sex Positivity?

The sex positive movement has at its core a set of core values:

• Confidence: Every person has the right to feel good about their body, their choices, and their desires.

• Respect: Everyone involved has the right to be respected during any sexual activity.

• Informed Choices: People should make informed choices about their own bodies and processes of self-discovery.

• Consent: Consent is necessary for every aspect of sex, from flirting to physical contact.

• Diversity: People of all genders, sexual orientations, identities, abilities and body types should be fully included in the sex positive community.

• Self-Worth: Valuing yourself, and understanding your worth and that of those around you, is of the utmost importance to being sex positive.

• Open-Mindedness: Sex positivity is all about openness and curiosity – having the right attitude to explore and experiment without judgement.

• Safety: Being sex positive should also involve taking precautions to ensure the safety of all partners.

Sex Positive Education

Often, sex education in schools can be lacking, teaching far too little of what is necessary in terms of understanding pleasure, communication and consent. This can lead to people going into adult life feeling little idea of what sex positivity is, and how to practice it. Improving education on the sex positive movement is therefore essential in giving people the opportunity to fully understand and engage with it.

This could involve:

• Explaining the basics of physical and sexual pleasure, with an emphasis on consent.
• Introducing different gender identities, sexual orientations and boundaries for casual sex.
• Making sure everyone knows that sex is not something to feel embarrassed about, and that it is nothing to be ashamed of.

In essence, understanding the sex positive movement and how to practice it is key to understanding how to approach sex responsibly and pleasurably, in a way that is respectful and consensual.

Sex Positivity and Society

Anytime a social movement is born, it’s not long before society takes notice and things start to change. Sex positivity is no exception – with more people embracing it in their own lives, it inevitably filters through to wider society.

• Sex Positive Media: Sex positivity has infiltrated the media, with TV and film increasingly showing more diverse, positive representations of sex.
• Improved Discrimination Laws: We have seen progress in the legal rights of people in the LGBTQ+ community, thanks in part to the fight for a fairer, sex positive society.
• Love Has No Labels: The campaign Love Has No Labels has helped to spread the message of diversity and respect, and challenge negative attitudes towards gender, race and sexual orientation.
• Sex Work Rights: Sex work has been increasingly accepted as a valid choice and has been reclassified as legitimate work in some countries, showing that recognition of the sex positive movement is growing.

The sex positive movement has come a long way, but there is still some way to go to ensure that everyone is truly comfortable and safe in their own skin. Education is essential, both in classrooms and in the wider media, to help people understand sex positivity and the importance of consensual, respectful and pleasurable sex. With more continuing work on this side of things, the sex positive movement will only continue to gain momentum and become the norm in everyday life.

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