In the woke era, the term ‘sex positive’ comes up a lot. Sex is expressed in many things. People are looking to getting sexy back. Music, TV shows, billboards all have some form of sexual expression. However, for many people sex talks are a taboo. This discomfort around sex discussions comes from culture, religion and general socialization. Avoiding sex talks does not eliminate it and gradually more people are willing to have these talks. The meaning of sex positivity is still confusing for many people.
Sex positivity has different interpretations to different people. However, the consensus is that sex positivity is about having a healthy attitude towards sex and respecting other people’s sexual choices as long as they are consensual.
Some people argue that sex positivity is just a trend that will soon fizzle out but activists refute such claims. Regardless of the claims, here are a few things to clarify about sex-positivity.
- Sex positivity is not synonymous to liking sex
Many people like sex but that does not necessarily mean that they are sex positive. Sex positivity requires one to have a healthy attitude towards sex. Someone could like having sex but forces others to engage in it. Would we term that person sex positive? No, because they disregard the importance of consent. There are people who like sex but judge others for having different sexual preferences. Such people are also not sex positive because they do not respect other people’s sexual choices.
- Sex positivity aims at fighting sex negativity
We have so many negative notions about sex in society. This is why discussing the matter is often uncomfortable for many people. People would rather secretly search the internet. The discomfort levels are so high that they delete the browsing history so that others will not know that they are looking for this kind of information. Despite sexual instinct being a natural thing, many act as though it’s wrong and should be hidden.
Much of the information results in young people developing a notion that sex is for certain people and in a certain context. For religious people, sex is only encouraged in marriage. While there is nothing wrong in teaching abstinence until marriage, such messages neglect to mention how to handle natural sexual feelings. A young person could end up developing negative attitudes towards sex. Some end up having self-esteem issues, which affect future interactions. Sex positivity advocates for comprehensive sexuality education so that people can make informed choices.
Another example of sex negativity is society’s reaction to diseases connected to sexual health. For example, if someone went to a mosquito-infested zone and contracted malaria, despite not taking enough precaution to prevent contraction, they get a lot of sympathy. Family and neighbours will take turns to visit them. Some will even make special food that will help them recover much faster. If there are extensive hospital bills, they will offer financial assistance.
However, in a case where a person suffers from a sexually related disease such as HIV/AIDS, a lot of stigma arises. Few people support such a person. There is unspoken blame laid on them that is not given to those suffering from preventable non-sexual diseases. Sometimes this feeling is hypocritical because you could have been in the same situation only that you were lucky enough to escape scot-free.
- Sex positivity does not mean not having boundaries
There is a myth that being sex positive means being open to anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sex positivity encourages you to understand what you are comfortable with. It informs you that it is perfectly fine to dislike something that your partner likes. The idea of sex positivity also sounds synonymous to being sexually adventurous but if you fall under the conservative spectrum, it’s also fine. Every individual, male or female, is entitled to their sexual boundaries and articulating them does not make you sex negative.
Boundaries also come in the form of what you are comfortable with when it comes to talking about sex with other people. For instance, you could be in a group of say six people and two of them go on and on about sex. If the rest are uncomfortable, they are disregarding boundaries. It does not make the two sex positive. Sex positivity requires understanding and respect of other’s boundaries.
- Sex positivity has different impacts on different people
Once one gets all the sex education they can, they come to different conclusions. For example, one could find out that they enjoy vanilla sex more than the more adventurous practices. Others could choose abstinence. No one should judge or ridicule them for that. They understand their needs, preferences, and no one should judge them. The same way the adventurous type should not face any judgement. Sex positivity advocates for the accommodation of different people’s ideas on sex.
There are many myths surrounding sex positivity but the rule of thumb requires two main things, a healthy attitude towards sex and the presence of consent.
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