Defininitons of the term ‘Sex Positive,’
According to the Urban Dictionary the term Sex Positive has two meanings. The first one here is the definition that I’m interested in for this post, it’s a term I’ve come across lately that I think describes my attitude towards sexuality.
Sex Positive means:
“An approach to sex and human sexuality that embraces the full benefits of sexual interaction as healthy and uplifting, based upon the premise that sexual expression is good and healthy and that societal repression or control of the individual’s sex-drive is bad and unhealthy.”
It goes on to describe the way the sex positive community views sexual activity and sex education in a way that I strongly relate to and agree with.
“Sex Positive people advocate comprehensive sex education, because even in a free-sex utopia one must still be wary of sexually-transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.”
I personally am all for sex provided it’s consensual and safe. Which implies that the people participating have some knowledge of safe sex, sadly this is not always the case which is what makes sex education so important. The topic of sex education is one reason I began this blog because in my opinion too many people aren’t educated on the matter. Both young and older people need to be reminded of the importance of safe sex and why we encourage practicing only safe sex.
The topic of safe sex brings me to the next definition the Urban Dictionary listed under the term. I think the way I’d originally (and wrongly,) interpreted the meaning of it was in this regard, that some HIV positive people openly have sex with non infected partners. The definition they have says;
“Continuing to engage in erotic behavior and continuing to pursue an active sex life despite having been infected with a sexually transmitted disease, the term usually refers to HIV.”
The second definition shown here (labelled as the 1st by the urban dictionary,) is rather concerning and to me highlights the reason why it’s essential for us to take responsibility for ourselves and practice safe sex.
Wikipedia have a more accurate description of the modern definition which goes a way to clearing up the above confusion. According to Wikipedia site they tell us this;
“Sex-positivity is “an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, encouraging sexual pleasure and experimentation”. The sex-positive movement advocates these attitudes. The sex-positive movement also advocates sex education and safer sex as part of its campaign”. Part of its original use was in an effort to get rid of the frightening connotation that the term ‘positive’ had during the height of the AIDS epidemic.“
Being a term apparently coined by feminists (another word I am sometimes confused about as all women should be pro-women?) and as shown above there is some variations to what people will say is the exact meaning.
Being sex positive really means having an accepting attitude and an open mind towards sexual practices. It’s an understanding that just because you aren’t into something that someone else is that doesn’t make it bad.
People are into all sorts of things and if they aren’t hurting anyone and are all willing participants why should we judge them? Some people may be (and are,) discriminated against and stigmatized for participating in sexual activities that are considered outside the norm. Taking the sex positive approach means educating people about all areas of sex and sexuality, teaching them about acceptance. It involves having an open conversation around consent and what that means. (I have a post on this coming up soon too)
Judging adults for engaging in consensual sex of any type seems silly to me, why are we so bothered about what other people do in their bedrooms or other places for that matter?
My interpretation is that it’s an overall outlook or perception that involves being more open about sex and accepting of people and the choices they make about the types of sex they wish to have while encouraging them to take measures to do it safely. Taking this approach means educating people, ourselves firstly about all areas of sex and sexuality, including very importantly, consent and what that means.
After being brought up in a particular way deciding to become sex positive can be difficult and it will likely mean constantly checking in with yourself around your reactions and responses when sex is brought up in discussion. It means we have to question the way we were taught to think which is more of a process than an overnight decision.
Sex Positived Views and Education
To practice safe sex one needs to be aware of the possible associated risks involved in sexual contact, the STI’S that exist, the possible means for transmission and ways to prevent them. This basically means being aware of the fact that bodily fluids can be transmitted during sex and even skin to skin contact can spread STI’s among other things. Knowing how to best prevent this from occurring and practicing it is safe sex. The best way to date is to use condoms (and to prevent pregnancy some type of contraception,) unless you are in a monogamous relationship with someone who you know is clear of any sexually transmitted infections. This means you and your partner must get tested.
For myself, having been a sex worker in the past, I am always surprised by people who don’t want to or won’t get tested when they are sexually active. I became used to getting regular tests done and do so diligently when I am not in a long term monogamous relationship like I am now. When our relationship began it took us both getting tested twice for me to feel comfortable having sex without condoms. I still got tested before my current relationship, even if I had only been practicing safe sex because condoms aren’t fool proof and there is still risks involved. I will still get tested every now and then as a precaution along with getting regular pap tests. I recommend others do the same. (I’m in the process of a post about safe sex, so that’s enough lecturing for now.)
Then there needs to be education around the possible risks associated with sexual activity and how best to prevent or minimize these harms. Education around pregnancy and STI’s should be available to everybody at a suitable age, it is important we teach our young people how to look after themselves and each other especially when they are beginning to form sexual (and non-sexual,) relationships. In my opinion this type of sex education should be available at all schools so every young person learns the facts about sex before they go out in the world and start doing it. Especially during a time when attitudes towards sexuality and sex are changing this education is more important than ever.
Many adults could benefit from some type of sex ed which was one of my reasons for starting this site, to help teach people what I have learned and to learn more to share that information with others because being educated can change people’s views and at this point in time many people are open to changing their views they just may need to get some facts to help them decide why. Gender is one issue that is currently changing in the way we view genders and how people identify with what gender they are, (there may be another post idea there,) but its not a straight forward topic as it was once considered to be.
Being open minded and sex positive
The times they are a changin’ and many forms reflect this with extra options for genders. Many countries have already taken the step to allow same sex marriages in a move that reflects popular public opinion. Australia recently had a plebiscite, or vote among its citizens about whether to legalize same sex marriage. It’s a shame it needed to come to that as there is already a large number of people living happily in all styles of relationships and not bothering anyone else so why we should be bothered with their sexuality is beyond me. We should be supportive of people in happy, loving relationships no matter what their gender is or roles they play.
We all need to be open minded and willing to learn in times like these, if we are to move forward and adapt to stay with the times. I am learning to use gender neutral terminology but may sometimes unwittingly slip back into practices that have been drilled into me since I was a child about gender roles and labels, I am trying to be more aware of this as I have learnt that some people find gender terms offensive and for very good reason if they don’t identify as being male or female.
I think being sex positive means you’re constantly evolving, and changing our ways of thinking that many of us were brought up with. Often the messages we were given, especially in religious households was (and is,) to feel guilty and negative about sex. Changing that way of thinking doesn’t happen overnight, it’s something we always need to be aware of, especially when the old ways of thinking automatically come back. Which does happen, none of us are perfect but if we make the choice to be open and positive towards sex we are taking the first step. Following that is the implementation of a new way of thinking, for many this doesn’t come as easily as we would like it to.
So from all this I learned a new term to describe myself and this blog, I am Sex Positive and what you just read was my brief take on what it means and what my opinion of what being sex positive means and how I think it could impact people and society in general. I think I have always been sex positive but hadn’t used the term to describe myself until now.
Being sex positive should mean taking an overall positive approach to sex and sexuality bearing positive outcomes for the majority.
The only thing that should be negative about sex between consenting adults, should be the results of our STI testing.
Note the above is my opinion and views. I advise consulting with a health professional if you have any concerns or questions, ever.