A few years ago I was introduced to feminism. When this happened, I realised a whole movement existed that held beliefs I had always held but never fully articulated. I recently discovered the sex positive movement and felt a similar feeling.
From my experience of Sex Positive, I would loosely define it as a movement that embraces sexuality as a gift we’re blessed with, as something to be experienced to its full and enjoyed. Something which, contrary to what most cultures have taught in some way or another, is not something to be ashamed of. Sex positive encourages an open minded discussion of sex and sexuality. Similarly, wikipedia defines sex positive as: ‘an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits beyond an emphasis on safe sex and the importance of informed consent. Sex positivity is “an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation. The sex-positive movement is a social and philosophical movement that advocates these attitudes. The sex-positive movement advocates sex education and safer sex as part of its campaign.” The movement makes no moral distinctions among types of sexual activities, regarding these choices as matters of personal preference.’.
Problems With Sex Positive
Of course just like feminism, or any other social movement, sex positive has its inherent flaws, and more prominently; people who define themselves as sex positive but embrace or express ideas that are not in keeping with the ideals of sex positive. Namely, what I personally loved about sex positive in the beginning was the freedom inherent within it. I found it to simply be a movement that said ‘whoever you are, and whatever your sexual preferences are, what’s most important is that you enjoy your sexuality and are comfortable with it’. That unlike other schools of thought on sexuality, such as the more pure/hetereosexual/monogamous values traditionally embraced by religious movements and conservatives, or the loose/sexually promiscuous values embraced by highly liberal movements; sex positive didn’t impose any standing on sexuality but your own. This was captured perfectly in a quote on Sex Positive’s wikipedia page by Carol Queen:
‘Sex-positive, a term that’s coming into cultural awareness, isn’t a dippy love-child celebration of orgone – it’s a simple yet radical affirmation that we each grow our own passions on a different medium, that instead of having two or three or even half a dozen sexual orientations, we should be thinking in terms of millions. “Sex-positive” respects each of our unique sexual profiles, even as we acknowledge that some of us have been damaged by a culture that tries to eradicate sexual difference and possibility.’