Sex-positivity. It’s something you hear a lot about these days, but not everyone really has a handle on what the term really means or what a sex-positive lifestyle actually looks like. There’s definitely still a lot about sex-positivity that people get wrong as well, especially when it comes to what sex positivity isn’t. The following are some of the most persistent misconceptions. Do any of them sound familiar?
1.“All sex-positive people enjoy sex.”
Perhaps one of the most persistent myths about sex-positivity is that it’s basically the same thing as really, really liking sex. A sex-positive person believes that sex is a wonderful, natural thing that should be enjoyed freely, safely and consensually. Related concepts like body positivity, sexual awareness, free exploration of gender norms, and sexual self-care are a big part of the equation as well. However, while many sex-positive people do enjoy sex, you can be sex-positive without being sexually active or even without being interested in sex yourself. There are sex-positive people out there that are virgins, celibate, and even asexual.
2. “Sex-positive people talk about sex constantly.”
While sex-positive people definitely believe that there’s nothing bad, wrong, or shameful about any type of consensual, responsible sexual activity, they may or may not actually talk much about sex. Consent is a big deal when it comes to sex-positivity. Sex-positive people get that not everyone wants to share the details of an intimate experience they had with someone else, be discussed themselves, or hear about the sexual exploits of others. Part of having a sex-positive attitude is being respectful and considerate in every way when it comes to sex.
3. “Being sex-positive means being into casual sex.”
Sex-positivity isn’t a throwback to the hippie days of free love by any means. There are definitely sex-positive people out there that are into casual sex, one-night stands, and friends-with-benefits situations. However, many sex-positive people take sex incredibly seriously and only wish to have it within a monogamous context that’s pretty traditional for the most part. It’s also very much understood that sex isn’t a fun, carefree experience for everyone. Sex-positive people believe in a world where it’s safe to freely and responsibly express your sexuality, whatever that does or doesn’t mean for you personally.
4. “Sex-positive people don’t have boundaries.”
You don’t need to be a “try anything” type of person to be sex-positive or identify with the movement. Almost everyone has boundaries and things they simply aren’t into sexually. That doesn’t mean they’re uptight or that they need to loosen up, and it definitely doesn’t mean they’re not sex-positive. A sex-positive person would actually be someone who not only knows where their personal boundaries are, but is very comfortable expressing them and asking that they be respected by others.
5. “Sex-positive people see sex as something they’re entitled to.”
We’ve all known people who think sex is something they’re entitled to or that other people owe them. We’ve probably known at least a couple who’ve used what they think is their belief in sex-positivity as a way to manipulate or shame others into giving in and engaging in sexual activity they don’t want to be part of as well. Anyone who takes that attitude toward sex is not sex-positive. We’re not kidding when we insist that consent is a huge deal to sex-positive people. No one owes you sex, nor do you owe sex to anyone else. Period.
6. “Sex-positive people are constantly horny.”
Very few people, sex-positive or otherwise, are perpetually up for all the sex they can get from absolutely anyone who’s willing to give it a go. Sex-positivity isn’t about being super horny or completely indiscriminate when it comes to when, how, and with whom they have sex. Be wary of anyone who says otherwise. Adopting a sex-positive approach to your life does not mean people get to approach you out of nowhere expecting sex, sexual conversation, or anything else to that tune.
7. “Kinky people are better at sex than vanilla people.”
Truly sex-positive people don’t believe in a sexual hierarchy where what someone’s into (or not into) automatically makes them good or bad at sex. In a sex-positive world, any sex act that occurs safely and responsibly between consenting adults is a valid expression of desire. Being into BDSM, having a large sex toy collection, being into threesomes, or being polyamorous doesn’t make you better at sex. Preferring to have traditional missionary sex only within the context of a marital relationship doesn’t make you bad at sex. Sex-positivity is about accepting everyone’s preferences, whether or not they like to have sex the way you do.
Living a sex-positive lifestyle is without a doubt a wonderful decision. Not only does it open you up to getting to know yourself better, but it helps you embrace the differences between you and others as well.