MYTH: Being sex positive just means you have a lot of sex

FACT: Being sex positive means you believe that all sex is good sex as long as it’s consensual

Sex positivity is a topic that has been at the forefront of cultural discussion more and more frequently in recent years as it is an issue that warrants very strong opinions–like most issues that involve sex. Sex positivity in particular gets the discourse pumping, largely in part because many folks do not know what sex positivity is. Many people believe that sex positivity is akin to sexual promiscuity or sexual enthusiasm, i.e. people who identify as sex positive are just people who have a lot of sex. While there are people who identify as sex positive that have “a lot” of sex, there are also people who identify as sex positive that have no sex at all, or who only have sex in relationships, or who only have sex whilst wearing fake animal tails (a furry). Sex positivity is less to do with the type of sexual activity that you personally engage in, and more to do with your ideology about sex and sexuality as a whole. 

Essentially, sex positivity is the belief that all sex is good sex as long as it’s consensual. By ‘all sex is good sex,’ we mean that all forms of sexual activity, behaviors, and expression are good and valid, i.e. penetrative sex, non-penetrative sex, vanilla sex, kinks, BDSM, toy play, food play, masturbation, etc., etc., etc. And by ‘consensual,’ we mean that all parties who are involved in the sex want to have sex, have expressed out loud and enthusiastically that they want to have sex, are not coerced into having sex, are able to change their minds at any time, have access to condoms and contraception, and are not under the influence of any substances that affect their ability to do any of the items mentioned on this list. In other words, get freaky however you want as long as everyone consents to it.

That definition is the fundamental ideology behind sex positivity, however the Center has created a more comprehensive model to define positive sexuality which includes eight dimensions:

  1. “Positive” Refers to Strengths, Wellbeing, and Happiness
  2. Individual Sexuality is Unique and Multifaceted
  3. Positive Sexuality Embraces Multiple Ways of Knowing 
  4. Positive Sexuality Reflects Professional Ethics
  5. Positive Sexuality Promotes Open, Honest Communication 
  6. Positive Sexuality is Humanizing
  7. Positive Sexuality Encourages Peacemaking
  8. Positive Sexuality is Applicable across all Levels of Social Structure

To learn more about the dimensions in detail, request a presentation or check out this article in our journal!

Written by our awesome intern, Tiernan Hebron.