A person much smarter than me once said, “if you fight your sexuality you are fighting yourself and you will lose.” So, why not choose to accept and love yourself? The source of your power comes from understanding that you have a choice in everything you do–including the sex life you create for yourself!
Throughout our lives most of us have been taught to think about sex through a negative lens of shall nots, should nots, and never evers. Sex education often focuses on sexual problems, risks and consequences that perpetuate irrational fears and problematic sexual myths. Have you ever heard any of the following?
- If you have sex with too many partners, you are a slut, dirty, promiscuous, easy, etc.
- If you masturbate, you will grow hair on your palm
- If you masturbate, you will become addicted to porn
- If you masturbate, you are a slut, you are dirty
- If you have sex before marriage, you are promiscuous Men want more sex than women
- Men are always ready and want sex
- Women should be more sexually conservative than men
- You should naturally know how to please your partner
- Thinking about something is just as bad as actually doing it.
And, I am sure that you can think of at least a dozen more from your own experiences! This sex negative messaging fosters an environment of sexual judgement and intolerance for not only ourselves, but of other as well.
The idea that there is a right way and a wrong way is unrealistic and inaccurate. We have been conditioned to see sex in 3Ds (and no, I am not talking about the new 3D porn that is out there). These Ds stand for Dirty, Dangerous and Degrading. Think about the words that we use to insult people: fuck, dick, prick, cunt, slut, whore, or when something goes wrong we say “we fucked up”, or “got screwed”. Our language creates our reality. Our thought patterns and behavioural patterns are so deeply ingrained that it is often difficult to even see that a problem exists! So, how can we break this pattern? By rethinking what we know about sex through a more positive framework. Instead of being sex negative we need to be sex positive!
What does being sex positive mean? The most common misconception about sex positivity is that to be sex positive you have to have lots of sex, with lots of people, all the time. In fact, you can practice abstinence and still be sex positive. Yup, that is right you can have no sex and still be sex positive. Sex positivity is the idea that as long as it’s healthy (as defined by you and your partner(s) and explicitly consensual all sex is GOOD. If we think about the analogy of sex and food, you never know if you are going to like something until you try it. Remember the first time you tried sushi, caviar or a deep fried mars bar you may have loved it or hated it and when you are eating alone you make your own decisions. However when you are sharing a meal with someone you have to agree on what you are eating. You don’t make them wrong because they don’t like the same type of food that you do. Or they don’t feel like eating that tonight……. So why is it so different when it comes to sex?
Try thinking about this for a moment: you are going out with a friend to have dinner. You can go online and access an enormous amount of free information about food. Discussing the types of foods you like and figuring out what type of food you are going to have with your potential dinner partner can be a simple and fun conversation. Your preferences as well as theirs, both cultural and personal, are important to share as they will impact the type of food you decide to have. You may be the type of person who likes to eat with the same person all the time, others like to eat in a group, and others like to eat with a variety of partners as the mood suits them. Everyone is an expert in what they want and need their choices respected. We live in a food positive world and the above scenario plays out tens of thousands of times a night. Now, replace the word “food” with “sex” and “eat” with “have sex” and re-read that paragraph again. The narrative changes considerably.
Becoming sex positive is not as easy as flipping a switch. Think of it as a process of developing a positive relationship towards sex for yourself and others. Loving and accepting your sexual self, without making yourself wrong, is the first step and accepting others for who they are sexually, without judgement, is the second.
While trying on a new sex positive attitude you can figure out what you want by trying new “foods”, going to a new “restaurant”, buying a new “cookbook”, you may be surprised the tastes that you develop.
Try celebrating sex for what it is, and what it does. Sex is different for each and every one of us. Who cares what someone else does? Let’s get things straight; sex first and foremost is designed to bring pleasure. It feels good, and sometimes (if we are lucky) even great! It can develop a connection with another human being (the depth and scope of which varies), and let’s not forget that it also serves to continue the existence of the human race. Yup, it’s true. Life is sexually transmitted so why not enjoy it and embrace it!
- Posted by Dr. Stephen de Wit
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