Sex-Positivity 201: What It’s NOT.
Not too long ago, my awesome friend Trevor and I were having an interesting talk over on the Facebook. He was expressing his frustration that sometimes people will misinterpret the idea of being sex-positive or sexual progressive to mean that your life is a no-holds-barred, sexuality free for all.
Some people have made the legitimate criticism that the term “sex-positive” may wrongly imply a sort of All Sex For All People All The Time perspective. And while I personally am still a fan of the term, I wanted to clarify and point out some of the things that sex-positivity does NOT mean.
1. We Think That Sex Is Always A Good Thing
I don’t believe that sex is inherently bad. Ideally sex can be a powerful tool for pleasure and happiness…but that’s not everyone’s experience. Some people may have sexual experiences that are amongst other things: painful, disappointing, mediocre, harmful, regrettable, exploitative, embarrassing or uncomfortable. Some people’s personal experience with sex has been far less than stellar and that’s totally valid. Trying to convince them that should like sex is dismissing their truth. Not cool at all.
2. We All Have Lots and Lots of Sex
I’ve been pretty open about the fact that these day, I’m NOT having much sex at all. Sex positivity has nothing to do with how much sex you are having. It is also not the belief that more sex is better or more desirable. Sex positivity is about accepting and supporting people’s right to have sex as much or as little as they want or able to have. That might be tons, some or none.
3. We Believe That Everyone Is Sexual
Nope. Some people choose not to be sexual. Some people have no desire to be sexual. Ever. Given my view on consent, it’d be pretty lousy of me to convince people to have sex if they didn’t want to.
4. You Can Say Anything You Want To Us
Just because a person is sex positive or sexually progressive, does NOT mean you’re allowed to say anything to them, anywhere, anytime. The rules of discretion and tact still apply. So do the rules of basic common decency. Being open about sexuality is not an invitation for harassment. Just sayin’
5. We’re All Kinky
Some sexually progressive people are kinky. Some aren’t. I fully support anyone’s right to get it on in whatever way makes them feel good – as long as they aren’t hurting others. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I am personally excited by any and all sex acts. I don’t need to be. Being sex-positivity mean I strive to support people’s sexual expression, regardless of my own personal preferences.
6. We’re All Promiscuous
Sex positivity has zero to do with the number of people you’ve slept with. It can be zero, one, one thousand or more. What’s your number? Doesn’t matter.
7. We Have No Boundaries
Let’s get this super-duper straight. Sexually progressive people have boundaries. Those boundaries are to be respected. Accepting sex, embracing sexual diversity, encouraging sexual pleasure – none of this forfeits a person’s right to decided what they do or don’t want with their body. It doesn’t matter what a person has done, with whom or how ofter. Don’t assume they’re into what you’re into. Don’t assume they want to get with or engage with you sexually. Don’t assume anything. Be respectful, ask if it’s appropriate and accept the answer you’re given.