What Does It Mean to Be Sex Positive?
Spend any amount of time in the world of sex toys, sexual pleasure, or even kink, and you’ll come across the phrase “sex-positive.” People call themselves sex-positive or seek out sex-positive companies and brands like Jack and Jill Adult. But what does that mean exactly?
While there’s no single perfect definition for the phrase, here’s what it means to be sex-positive — and what it’s not.
A Simple Definition for Sex Positive
The simplest definition of sex positivity is having a positive attitude about sex and sexual activity. Being sex-positive means you don’t shame or look down on others for their sexual preferences or desires, the amount of sex they have, or how they define “sex” for themselves.
As a sex-positive person, you see sex as a healthy part of life to which consent is a central component. If you don’t worry about what consenting adults do to and with each other during sex, and think they should do what makes them happy, you’re well on your way to being a sex-positive person. But there’s much more to it than that.
Talking About Sex
Very few of us are comfortable talking about sex in an open way. Much of that relates to how we were raised and educated. Almost none of us learned about consent, masturbation, or sexual desire in sex education classes if we even had sex ed. Instead, educators focused on the negative sides — unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They taught us sex was something to fear and avoid, not something to talk about.
Part of becoming sex-positive is learning how to talk about sex in an open and honest way — setting boundaries with partners, sharing desires, and learning about our partners. The hardest part for many is overcoming shame and awkwardness and discussing sex in a judgment-free way. Like any new skill, it takes practice, but making the effort is an important step in being sex-positive.
What Sex Positivity is Not
Everyone’s experience with sex and sexual desire is unique. Part of being sex-positive means understanding that no one way exists. You may love to have a lot of sex and try new things. Your best friend may prefer not to have sex or to stick with one or two things they really enjoy. Both are welcome in a sex-positive culture.
This can be tricky for people because they assume that being sex-positive means everyone should want to have sex. Not at all. And that’s just the beginning of what sex positivity isn’t.
- Sex positivity isn’t the same as liking sex.
- It’s not about the type of sex or the amount of sex you engage in.
- Assuming everyone enjoys sex or should want sex isn’t part of sex-positivity.
Remember, to be truly sex-positive means that there’s no shaming or judgment about how others have sex — or don’t have sex.
Finding Sex Positive Spaces
The world at large isn’t exactly sex-friendly or sex-positive. We’re inundated with things designed to make us feel ashamed or want to change who we are. From sex education focused on shaming to assumptions about who we’re attracted to based on our looks, we live in a sex-negative culture and barely notice it. It feels normal for most of us. Which is why sex-positive spaces can be overwhelming, intimidating, but also exciting.
What do sex-positive spaces have in common?
- They’re welcoming and open to different types of people and a variety of views.
- Sex-positive spaces are judgment-free and work to counter shame and negative feelings about sex and desire.
- These spaces allow you to be yourself, in whatever way that means to you.
- They focus on the importance of consent and don’t tolerate violations of consent.
You can find sex-positive spaces online and in real life. Social media has its problems, but Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram are filled with people trying to help others embrace their sexual desires and become more sex-positive. Adult stores, like Jack and Jill Adult, offer space for sexual exploration and desires without shame and judgment.
So what does it mean to be sex-positive? If you’re open to the idea that there are multiple ways to enjoy sex, that consent matters, that shame has no place in sex, and that sex is a healthy part of life — you’re well on your way to being sex-positive. Continue exploring what sex means for you and/or your partner in a judgment-free way while being open to the idea that there is no right way to have sex. Seek out sex-positive people and spaces, and you may be amazed at how different the world seems when you don’t feel ashamed of an inherent part of who you are.