Sex positive means having an environment where one could talk about sex positively without the fear of being judged. Sex positivity is “an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, encouraging sexual pleasure and experimentation.” It is the feeling of liberation and freedom to talk about sex in a positive manner which should be appreciated by society. The terms and concept of sex-positive (or, alternately sex-affirmative and sex-negative are generally attributed to Wilhelm Reich). His hypothesis was that some societies view the sexual expression as essentially good and healthy, while others have a generally negative view of sexuality and seek to repress and control libido. Other terms used to describe this concept include pro-sex or pro-sexuality.
The sex-positive movement does not, in general, make moral or ethical distinctions between heterosexual or homosexual sex, or masturbation, regarding these choices as matters of personal preference. It is also about understanding the importance of safe sex for both themselves and the partners. Safe sex can include discussing sexual histories, using condoms, and being tested for sexually transmitted infections. It can also include emotional and psychological safety, such as supporting a partner with sexual dysfunction or one with a history of sexual abuse. It is also about acknowledging the fact that sometimes the other person does not want to have sex and respecting each other opinions.
Moreover, sex positivity can also be defined as accepting others’ sexual practices, as long as the participants consent and feel safe, without moral judgement. This means accepting sexual behaviours that might be different from their own, such as having many partners, engaging in threesomes, or swapping marital partners.
But do we live in a society that is even slightly close to the above-mentioned explanation? We all know that we are far behind as a society to even understand the correct meaning of sex-positivity, let alone being capable of fully accepting it. Sex-positivity has room for people who have truckloads of sex, but it also has room for virgins and people who are abstinent.
At its heart, sex-positivity is about removing shame and stigma around sex, especially for women, who have perpetually lived under a double standard that demonizes their sexuality, and especially for people whose sexuality does not fall into the conventional definition of it, for example, the LGBTQIA+ community.
Sex that leaves one feeling violated, afraid, or alone would never be pegged as positive. What you do or don’t do to get there with your partner is your own business. This is impounded by structures in place that define what is “normal” and “acceptable” sex, and what is degenerative and wrong. For example, the distinction that sex for procreative purposes is valid and acceptable, but sex for pleasure is “unnatural” and “sinful,” or that sex between certain combinations of individuals are natural, while others are unnatural.
Positive sex is sex that leaves one feeling satisfied, listened to, and respected
All these things contribute to an overarching sex-negativity that is prevalent in our culture. It can be found in the language used around sex, the framing of news stories around issues involving sex, the way we teach about sex and how we approach the political dimension of sex. Sex-positivity is a counter-perspective that attempts to disentangle sex from associations of morality and pathology. It’s a disowning of this belief that sex is inherently dirty, shameful and/or wrong. Instead, sex is an inherent and natural part of human identity, and no expression of sex and sexuality is more valid than any other.
Sex-positivity is about celebrating sexual diversity.
Really, it’s all about taking ownership of ourselves and our decisions. It does not mean that we will have sex with anyone, but simply that we have the right and the freedom to have sex with anyone we choose. It also means that we embrace the decision to not have sex if we don’t want to and to accept when others don’t want to have sex with us. It is basic knowledge around the word consent and the fact that we accept and respect everyone’s decisions