Are You “Sex Positive?” Here’s What It Really Means

Posted by on December 20, 2017 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 32 Comments

attractive woman lying in bedBy Erin W. |

I am a sex-positive feminist. That is how I choose to identify myself. This label highlights how I see the world and how I choose to interact with it. I’ve come to this association after years of struggling with my own sexual identity and history — a long and torrid journey.

Related Article: 6 Popular Sex “Myths” That May or May Not Be True

Nowadays, though, I just like to talk about sex. A lot. I love to hear people’s stories around sex and their relation to it. I read as many public health, sociological and scientific articles about sex as I can get my hands on, and I hope to one day become active in the sexual education field.

But for now, I just identify with the simple term “sex positive.” It’s a compact term that contains a lot of information. While to me the term means a lot, I do get a lot of blank looks when I use it.

When I say it in conversation, I hear a lot of, “Sex-positive — who doesn’t love sex?”

I inevitably have to clarify that in this context, positivity and enthusiasm are not the same thing. The term is an attempt to address the individual and social place of sex and sexual identity. Sex-positivity boils down to a view that sex is a healthy and necessary part of human existence. It’s about acceptance and inclusion of the ways individuals choose to express themselves sexually.

But to really understand the term sex-positive, it needs to be contextualized in the history of sexual characterization. Historically, sex has been pathologized in our culture, treated as something dirty and harmful. Moral authorities throughout Western history have shaped how we as a society view sex, labeling it as sinful and indecent. In the 19th century, science was invoked to shift the connotations of sex to something more pathological. This process imparted false, negative associations between sex, disease and other physiological and psychological afflictions. These ingrained connotations still resonate in how our society approaches the social and personal place of sex today.

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 is natural, while others are unnatural. (If you’re interested in a more in-depth analysis of this history, Michel Foucault’s “History of Sexuality Vol. I” offers a great breakdown)

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.

As a sex-positivist…

I believe in being inclusive of all expressions of and approaches to sexuality. As long as it involves consensual participation of adults and causes no psychological or physical harm to the participants, all sexual expressions are equally legitimate. This includes kinks and non-monogamous identifications. Also, no one sexual identification is better or more “normal” than any other. This includes accepting sexual expression of all races, genders, classes, orientation, ability, age without preconceptions or discrimination.

I believe in acknowledging each individual’s ability to decide whether or not to engage in sexual activity, and not judging how and for what reasons they choose to do so (as long as it is consensual). People have the right to make their own choices around sex. There are many reasons why people choose to engage or not engage in sexual activity.

I believe sex for pleasure is a worthwhile pursuit and sexual expression is a necessary part of being human. Sex and sexuality are inherent to being human, and the experience of sex should not be shamed or maligned. And therefore…

I believe sex should be talked about. One of the worst ways shame is perpetuated is by silence. By not moralizing sex as an act within itself, the desire to curb public conversations loses strength. Talking is also a key component to undermining victim blaming directed toward victims of sexual violence and the dehumanizing of sex-workers.

I believe in comprehensive, age-appropriate, pleasure-inclusive sex education. This means making sex education more than about anatomy and STIs. Discussions of consent, pleasure, and the emotional component are as equally important. So much misinformation and judgement is disseminated around sex. People are more likely to make poor and uninformed decisions without sex education. We should teach people about all-dimensions of sex without judgement or shame, and start the conversations that will allow everything to lead healthy and happy sex lives.

Related Article: 10 Things We Wish Sex Ed Had Taught Us


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  1.' Indigo Soldier says:

    Energy changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.

  2.' Rose Bush says:

    YUP, its NOT a necessity and be careful with whom u exchange ur energy with!

  3.' Jeremy Hood-Daniel says:

    404 Error … Page Not Found

    I’m sorry, but the page you’re seeking does not exist. Perhaps you can find what you’re looking for below.

  4.' Cindy Aymonetty says:

    Sex is dirty and harmful cuz a) it makes u loose ur “frequency” and b) it creates unnecessary humans. It is pleasurable but at the cost of entering a…”twilight zone” existence

  5.' Dominique Storni says:

    I’m sexually frustrated, terrified, and have been completely celibate for 18 of the last 19 years. You can thank religiosity and a devout christian childhood, and a congregant who molested over 300 of us.

    •' Mario Maghinay says:

      I sallute dominique storni….but it is a hidden reality that your community was immune with……4giveness will give u peace & redirect ur pain- anger into a fruitful & meaningful energy….

    •' Rose Bush says:

      sad to hear that Dominique, anyone who has been sexually molested my heart goes out to them, I never have and am grateful, and can only imagine the horror, pisses me off these kind of beasts exist on this planet that would harm a child in any way!

  6.' Mario Maghinay says:

    Agree….f settled in appropriate a sacred way….

  7.' Hagop Saricoban says:

    We are production of sex as
    Everyone know , how come still in most societies it’s dirty
    & sinful ? While everyone doing it . Common ” you can’t
    Hate something if you doing it
    Can you ???

  8.' Rex Massey-Molloy says:

    I wonder how she won that cup.

  9.' Manuela Jaunay says:

    Sex is an obsession in the west this sense s a pathology lol

  10.' David Ciezynski says:

    I agree with Indigo in a way as well as Rose. However if people were more careful and used contraceptives you wouldn’t have to worry about “unnecessary humans”. Or just pull out! Whatever method works best for ya’ll.

  11.' Waquer Hossain says:

    To your what if query , there is a tribe in Amazon who are quite “sex positive” , to use your term, as a consequence they have very low levels of violence and score very high on the happiness index.

  12.' Megat Sharifudin says:

    In Islam, sex is considered natural and good but within bounds of marriage…

  13.' Heather Gonzales says:

    I know I’m sick of seeing trout pouts on young girls and even grown women, mothers etc. Looking, dressing and acting like wannabe porn stars is sick, pathetic n needy.

    It’s disgusting. Women in this country are FREE TO HAVE DIGNITY.

    Demeaning ur selves will not make u feel better.

  14.' Roy Dominguez says:

    I would be with her. Man oh man she is my my myyyyy

  15.' Akos Nagy says:

    Don’t talk about it just do it.

  16.' Jennifer Padilla says:

    Sex has been perversed and fetishism has been forced on society to be the norm and a form of control in most relationships. Over the years, I have found sex to be highly overrated. I’ll stick with abstaining.

  17.' Emmanuel Fort says:

    I would say if sex was like cannabis, they’d make it illegal !

  18.' Robert Lombardo says:

    No mention of love. As much as I agree with this article, sex is not dirty, a focus on self serving can be ugly. Love is not a focus on how your body can be pleasurable to me. Any mindset that has a focus on self serving will not be fulfilling. Neither money nor sex is inharently bad, but any thing exclusively done for self without regard for other will miss the mark

  19.' Dave Fletcher says:

    I love sex in the morning noon and night, passionate loving and sensual, I love sex ❤️

  20.' Roger Valentine says:

    yes in the natural way, not by just doing it, but by giving it to the one you know and love and with due respect !.

  21.' Hakuna Matata says:

    no sex, no us..

  22.' Pam Nielsen says:

    It was considered dirty FOR WOMEN not for men -and still is.

  23.' William Browatzke says:

    When sex is used in a loving caring relationship in a spiritual relationship the act of sexual time together uplifts the body mind and soul allowing a deeper connection that is beyond words. when you have this and have felt it you will know and remember what sex is truly for!

  24.' W Dave Tyler says:

    Time to get it out of the closet!

  25.' Bani Adam Bani says:

    Too much sex is un healthy and it causing mentaly problems…

  26.' Will Cassanara says:

    I don’t know who she is but I think looking at her makes almost anyone “sex positive”.:-)

  27.' Moir Ngwira says:

    I just do it as long it is a vailable. No objection to nature. Where does sin or dirt fit in nature? Selfishness and misunderstanding. God is no respect of person, is Love. And does no mistake.

  28.' David J Sider-La France says:

    ya! I can pleasure almost any woman I feel I would like to give pleasure to,… but no chance for a gf,.. da fuk?

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