What springs to mind when you hear the words sex positive? Hooking up with your hot neighbor guilt-free, experimenting with that anal toy you’ve been eyeing on Vibrant, trying a crazy new position in the bedroom?
Although sex positivity can signify all of those things, its broader meaning relates to the acceptance of safe, consensual and pleasurable sex (in whatever amount you choose) as a healthy part of life.
Here’s a rundown of ways you can practice being sex positive without having more sex (although that’s ok too 😋).
1 – Accept Your Own Needs & Desires
The first step to being more sex positive is accepting your own sexuality. Although you may consider yourself a sex positive person, being open and accepting of other people’s preferences and coming to terms with your own likes and dislikes is a totally different ball game.
Our knowledge of sex and sexuality oftentimes comes with a host of baggage that makes people feel ashamed and uncomfortable about what makes them tick. Try to be kinder to yourself and take the time to think about why you may be more open to other people’s desires than your own.
Remember that there isn’t a wrong way to express your sexuality (as long as no one is getting hurt in the process) and that everyone has the right to sexual pleasure – including you.
2 – Don’t Judge Other People’s Sexuality
Sexuality exists on a spectrum so not everybody’s experience of sex and desire will look like yours, and that’s ok. Our society often views frequent sex (but not too frequent for women) between two cis, able-bodied and conventionally attractive people as the norm – sidelining everyone else who doesn’t fit into this tiny criteria.
The truth is that there’s no such thing as “normal” and the quicker we realize this, the more comfortable we’ll be with ourselves and the better sexual experiences we’ll have. There’s also a lazy assumption that sex positivity is all about HAVING AS MUCH SEX AS POSSIBLE AND BRAGGING TO EVERYONE ABOUT IT! Some people don’t experience sexual attraction or are not into sex but this doesn’t make their experience of intimacy and pleasure any less legitimate than anyone else’s.
3 – Be Honest About The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Sides of Sex
Sex (in whatever form you may practice it) is complicated because people are complicated and feeling pressured to pretend that it’s all great all of the time is neither sexy nor positive.
Being intimate with other people (in whatever capacity) can lead to heartache, insecurity and all sorts of emotional turmoil. Although talking about these experiences is less sexy than say, discussing orgasms, it’s important to talk about them so that legitimate issues can be tackled. And let’s be honest – sex isn’t always the pleasure-fest we imagine it to be – and there’s no shame in admitting it!
4 – Practice Consent
Although this may seem like a no-brainer, consent is key when it comes to sex.
Everyone, regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual history have the unequivocal right to decide whether or not they want to engage in a sexual activity.
Consent doesn’t need to be justified and should not be judged. If you’re not sure whether your partner is enthusiastic about having sex, ask for verbal confirmation, or better yet, just stop. No matter how great society claims sex is – it’s nothing without the enthusiastic consent of all parties involved.
5 – Support Sex Positive Movements
The personal has become political when it comes to sex and sexuality and it’s no longer enough to practice sex positivity in the comfort of our own relationships.
If we want society to become more open, it’s important to support organizations and movements that do the work. This can mean advocating for pleasure-positive sex ed in schools, volunteering your time to help marginalized communities or donating to family planning initiatives.
If we all do our part, we can make the world a more sex positive place!