If you are on this site to begin with, your first impression of this topic is probably that we're preaching to the choir. But there are varying degrees of sex positive, and if you take a long hard look at your sex life, you may not be as sex positive as you think....
What is sex positive anyway? Our friend Wikipedia defines it as "an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality" and "is an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation."
On the surface, sex positive is about not being sex negative, which is the attitude of lots of people. Not only do they have strict limits for themselves under which sex may take place, but they expect everyone else to abide by those same self-imposed limits. Those limits come in many different flavors:
-no sex before marriage.
-no sex that doesn't have procreation as a goal.
-no sex while completely naked (for very conservative sects).
-one must shower after sex because it's dirty.
-women shouldn't derive pleasure from sex.
And the list of negativity goes on. Once again, if you are on this site reading this article, this probably isn't you and you would probably consider yourself to be sex positive. You likely don't believe in the above "rules" and you don't really care what others do sexually. So you are sex positive right?
From group to group and individual to individual, sexual conservatism takes on different forms. For example, if we take a progressive church, they most likely believe that sex isn't dirty and is meant to be enjoyed, but still believe in sex only after marriage. If we take a look at sexual liberals in general, while they seem to be sex positive, they too have lots of hang ups. How many women have refused to date bisexual men? How many liberals frown upon polyamory and open relationships? And sure, unlike the conservatives, liberals aren't going to go charging in to stop other people's sexual practices, but that doesn't mean these social pariahs don't exist in liberal circles, to be discussed in hushed tones. It also means that if ever legal threeway (or more) marriage ever came up for vote, many liberals probably wouldn't be voting yes. But if we really are sex positive and don't care about what other people do, why are we trying to impose our limits on them?
Let's talk about limits and rules for a moment. While the social aspect of sex positivity is important, the personal aspect and the way it plays out in our relationships is as well. Remember when you first started sleeping with your partner and anything went? You were willing to be adventurous, take risks, and occasionally slip outside your comfort zone for the sake of exploration? In lots of long term relationships this dissipates and sex becomes a matter of convenience. For example, one partner approaches the other and says it would be a good idea to do something really different and have sex in their fenced in back yard. The other partner replies that it would simply be too much trouble and they should just watch TV instead. And let's not even get into the topic of anal sex - for both men and women. How often in our relationships do we fall into routine because anything else sexually is just too much trouble? And how unwilling are we to explore new things, even those our partners are interested in?
Being sex positive is about keeping a spirit of openness and exploration. Why so serious? It's just sex. If you try something a little outside of your comfort zone and the experience isn't so good, just laugh about it. And if something is outside your comfort zone, ask yourself why that is and the answer may allow you to turn something negative into something positive.
Certainly there are some readers who have largely overcome these obstacles in their relationships, but if we all dig deep, there's at least one thing (and probably more) that we still have reservations about. It's important to never stop exploring - in our relationships, our sex lives, and getting to know our partners. So be sex positive!