By: Fatima Mechtab
Within our sexy communities and on-premise venues, such as Oasis Aqualounge, you will often hear the phrase ‘sex-positive’ buzzing around. It’s a great sounding term; light, affable and encouraging. It captures more than just the physical act of sex; it encompasses all of the surrounding areas of sexuality, such as our attitudes and perceptions.
For many, this phrase seems to lend permission to express ourselves and our desires; we slip it on and hold its hand as we embark on a journey of sexual discovery. But aside from the times when we want to engage in sex, what does ‘sex-positivity’ actually mean? This article will examine the various aspects of this term; what it is and what it is not.
To begin, ‘sex-positivity’ involves having an open attitude towards sexuality and the sexuality of others. A sex-positive person should be able address the topic without feeling shame or disgust. While this is easily achieved when exploring areas that are of personal interest, a sex-positive attitude extends itself past personal preferences and embraces all topics with an objective sense of curiosity.
Sex-positivity embraces the notion of active consent. It recognizes that active consent goes beyond ‘no means no;’ it emphasizes that ‘only yes means yes’ and that ‘yes’ should be expressed before and throughout the duration play. Someone who is sex-positive is accepting of activities that are safe and consensual and they are non-judgmental of practices that may be different from their own. They also acknowledge that sex-positivity is inclusive of all orientations and gender identities.
There is a misconception that people who are sex-positive are void of boundaries; they want to try and like everything! That is simply not true. We all have personal boundaries; There may be sexual activities that we are uncertain of and/or curiosities that we may not be ready to try (or try yet). Sex-positivity distinguishes between a personal boundary and a judgement call. You don’t have to want to try everything but if you are indeed sex-positive, you make space for those who like or who may want to experience something that you may not.
As much as we may enjoy the act of sex and/or kink, there are times when we may not feel like being sexual-and that’s ok! Sex-positivity grants us the freedom to accept when our libidos are low; it does not take away from our sexual identity and/or desire for our partner(s). However, feeling entitled to sex (complaining, begging, etc.) and/or constantly sexually objectifying others (yes, even your partner!) is not a sex-positive attitude.
Another fallacy is that sex-positivity can only be applied to people who are sexually active; those who are virgins, celibate and/or who identify as asexual are not included. True sex-positivity welcomes a diversity of expression and is inclusive of all identities. Sexual expression can also include masturbation, self-love and sexual-self-care. One does not always need a partner(s) in the room in order to express their sexuality.
The word ‘positive’ does suggest possessing a carefree attitude towards sex. However, there are many complexities surrounding sexuality; culture differences, past trauma and/or religious beliefs can add to the wide-range of an individual’s emotions. Sex-positivity appreciates the varied and sometimes contradictory nature of how we process our experiences. Sex-positivity is not simple; it’s as diverse as we are.
Anyone can learn to be sex-positive. All it takes is a willingness to keep an open mind that is free of judgement, an accepting attitude towards all sexual identities and self-awareness when it comes to one’s own desires and boundaries. If you are interested in becoming more submersed in sex-positive culture, connect with others who share those values and allow your sexual self to flourish.