Although attitudes toward sex have changed drastically in the last few decades, some old-school ideas take a long time to go away. Slut-shaming, abstinence-only sex education, and street harassment are still (unfortunately) alive and well. But there are many easy ways to be more sex positive that allow you to cultivate a healthier relationship with your own sexuality, as well as the spectrum of sexual practices in general.
So being sex positive does not mean having sex all the time — you can be asexual and sex positive. It just means you have a positive attitude about sex, accept your own identity, and understand that others will have different attitudes and likes than you do (and that’s OK). It rejects the notion that sexuality should only be for reproductive purposes, or that sexuality is only acceptable under a narrow range of circumstances. Basically, the sex positive movement embraces any expression of sexuality that is healthy and consensual. In other words, if it makes you (and your partner if you have one) happy and doesn’t harm anyone, go for it! This “you do you” approach encourages everyone to explore and define their sexuality in ways that work for them. And that’s an idea pretty much everyone can embrace.
1. Embrace Sexual Diversity
As Refinery 29 explains, being sex positive means feeling free to accept your sexuality as it is, not forcing yourself to fit societal norms. You can decide when, where, and with whom you want to have sex.
2. Read All About It
To educate yourself about sex positive mores, the Colorado State University Women and Gender Advocacy Center recommends sexing up your reading list. One pick is Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti.
3. Respect All Forms Of Consent
Respecting consent is a crucial component of sex positive attitudes, as the Huffington Post notes. People have the right to have sex (or not) on their own terms.
4. Communicate Your Desires Clearly
The importance of honest communication cannot be overstated. As a piece in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality explains, communicating your sexual needs can be as compared to placing an order at a restaurant: being able to place a specific order means the chef is more likely to serve up something you'll like.
5. Tailor Sex Positive Ideas To Your Own Needs
Sex positive does not equal having sex all the time (unless that’s what you want!). As the Women's Health Clinic notes, being sex positive means taking time to consider your own needs, whether you're gay, bi, asexual, straight, or something else entirely.
6. Stand Up To Regressive Behaviors
Buzzfeed recommends calling someone out if they use the word gay as an insult, or demonstrate other sex shame-y behaviors. If this is too forward, then taking time to recognize these destructive behaviors, and refraining from taking part in them yourself, is a good step.
7. Advocate Positive Sex Ed For Teens
Did your own sex education leave you with more questions than answers? The Coalition for Positive Sexuality (CPS) is a nonprofit dedicated to giving teens candid educational materials about sex. You can work with them or a similar organization to advocate more thorough sex education for the people who (likely) need it the most.
8. Educate Yourself About All Kinds Of Sexuality
Thanks to the Internet, it's easier than ever to educate yourself about all aspects of sexuality. Really learning your own anatomy is a good place to start, and you can also research ways to safely indulge in any kinks you may have.
9. Accept Sex As A Healthy Part Of Life
Eliminating awkwardness and inhibitions around sexuality will go a long way to promote more sex positive attitudes, as the International Society for Sexual Medicine explains. After all, it's just a part of life.