As a member of our horny little community, you've probably done your fair share of work when it comes to unpacking sexual baggage. It’s not easy to make it to adulthood without picking up some negative notions about sex, whether you get them from your religion, your parents, or a few embarrassing experiences during puberty.
But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if there was no inherent negative bias toward healthy human sexual expression? How much guilt, self-consciousness, and negative body-image thought patterns could we have been spared?
It sounds like a dream, but every day we inch closer to achieving it. That’s why a sex-positive movement exists to begin with - but it's certainly a worthy and noble goal worth striving for.
It may seem a little redundant to have an entire movement organised around a concept that's probably been around since the dawn of time, but if you're wondering how we got here, here's a very brief historical footnote:
The origin of Sex Positivity
In the early 1980s, the feminist movement experienced a bit of a civil war (known officially as the "Feminist Sex Wars"). Some feminists were campaigning against pornography as a function of patriarchal dominance and violence, but others - the prototypical sex-positive feminists - opposed this view. From where they were sitting, women's liberation hinged on their sexual freedom, and any attempt to control or censor female sexuality was a move in the wrong direction. In fact, the anti-pornography feminists were beginning to sound a lot like that other negative internal voice many of us grow up with - those voices that told us sexual fetishes and fantasies were something to keep behind closed doors.
Sex+ in all shapes and sizes
Today, sex positivity continues to be a major cornerstone of modern-day feminism, but its scope is certainly not limited to women. Sex positivity embraces human sexuality in virtually any form, so long as it's safe and consensual. It's also about advocating for comprehensive sex education that teaches acceptance and consent.
Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of misconceptions out there about sex positivity and what it means. Though it's certainly about embracing (and not shaming) someone who loves to have lots of sex, it doesn't necessarily advocate for rampant, promiscuous behaviour if that's not your cup of tea. There's room in the sex-positive movement for both the nymphomaniac and the asexual advocate.
It's also entirely possible that one's perfectly consensual sexual behaviour isn't necessarily healthy or reflective of their own desires. Sex positivity is about knowing oneself well enough to recognise when your habits run counter to your best interests or happiness.
In its simplest form, sex positivity is about removing the stigma surrounding sex. That way, when we do engage with it, it's in a way that adds to our health, happiness, and freedom of expression, and it's always a mutually beneficial exchange.