People ask me a lot of questions about sex positivity, what it is, why it’s important, and how they can begin to lead a sex positive lifestyle. I like to make the distinction about what sex positivity is and is not. A lot of people have made and live by decisions about sexuality based on misinformation. They have experienced a lack of critical information.
On another hand, sometimes people believe that they’re already living a sex positive lifestyle when they’re living a sex reckless lifestyle. They have difficulty acknowledging that boundaries, limits, awareness, and safety play an essential role in sex positivity. So, what is the difference between sex positivity and sex recklessness? Let’s cover some of the important basics.
At its foundation, sex positivity is a desire for awareness of and an authentic respect for sexuality. It expands to said respect for and awareness of your sexuality and others’. The ability to be sex positive is informed by an ability to acknowledge your fear and the judgments, inhibitions, and missteps that can come from fear.
Being sex positive means discovering your sexual needs and wishes, gaining awareness of your sexual boundaries and limits, and using this information to enrich your sexual life and relationships. Sex positivity also means engaging in healthy and safe behavior including (but not limited to) getting tested regularly for STIs, using proper barriers such as condoms and dental dams, being honest with partners about any STI status, engaging in consensual sex with people after trust and safety measures have been established, and respecting everyone’s boundaries including your own. Honesty is a mainstay when it comes to sex positivity. Whether it’s planning a vacation during which you know, you will be using substances that alter your judgment and planning accordingly or attending to responsibilities after the fact, the more honest you are with yourself, the better your outcome.
Being sex positive means abstaining from slut and sex shaming others whose desires, activity, and behaviors are different from your own or those whose desires, activity, and behavior you believe to be different from your own.
Sex recklessness is engaging in unsafe sex (not using barriers with those whose STI status you don’t know or with those who are positive for STIs, engaging in sexual activity with others where trust has not been established, using substances while engaging in sex without established trust, and not exercising respect for your own and others’ boundaries, just to name some basics). Sex reckless behavior is manifested in the unexamined fear that you hold about aspects of sexuality which you use to avoid the conversations, precautions, and awareness that are needed to establish and maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle. The more you talk about sexuality in a way that puts you in touch with your insight and reflection, the less likely you are to put yourself (and others) at risk.
Not everyone uses the best methods for safety and makes the optimal choices in every single sexual encounter. If you are sex positive, you will be honest with yourself about these occasions, take responsibility for your part in them, and allow yourself to learn from them.
If you would like to know more or discuss this with me, please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me (415) 794-5243.
Go on. Your sex-positive life is waiting for you!