If you know me as a person even a little bit, you will know that I am basically an open book and would describe myself as sex positive. I’m not sure why, but I have always had a very open attitude to life, sex included. You’ll have seen that I’ve talked on the blog before about female sexuality, periods, contraception – all topics that some people tend to shy away from, possibly due to embarrassment, but more likely, it’s that we have grown up almost in this culture that sex and female pleasure and female bodies (to a certain extent) are shameful.
I’ve recently heard a lot of talk online about the sex positive movement – which is essentially trying to make everyone like me; not afraid to embrace their sexuality and talk openly with others about sex and their bodies and hormones and all that lovely stuff.
So today, we’re gonna have a little chat about why we should all be more sex positive and why I think we can find it a bit of a tricky subject to talk about.
Why are people so embarrassed to talk about sex?
For me, one of the main things about being sex positive is being able to have open and honest conversations about the topic of sex. I think people struggle with this for a variety of reasons. Some just prefer to keep that element of their lives to themselves, which is totally fine, but I feel like a lot of the embarrassment that people feel about sex comes from our culture and upbringing, and how we are taught about sex, relationships and our bodies from a young age.
Generally here in the UK, or at least when I was at school, we were offered a very limited sex education programme which basically taught us about safe sex, STIs and how to put a condom on a banana. And that’s it. There was no discussion on different forms of contraception, or LGBT relationships or even consent. We didn’t really learn that sex was a normal and natural thing to do, and definitely not something that could (and should) be centred around pleasure, rather than just making babies.
As a woman especially, there was no mention of female masturbation, vaginal health or what to do if you did get pregnant and how that could affect your mental as well as physical wellbeing. Essentially what we were taught was all the bad stuff – very much a “Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!” kind of vibe.
Personally, I think this lack of discussion and almost a lack of awareness can make people feel awkward about sex. Awkward talking about it and awkward admitting they that enjoy putting their pleasure first. Whereas the sex positive movement is about feeling empowered talking about sex, enjoying your pleasure and knowing that there is no shame attached to sex and our relationships.
What is sex positivity?
So, what does it mean if you’re sex positive? Is it the same as being pro sex? Well, sort of.
The sex positive movement is a social and philosophical movement that champions embracing your sexuality and being comfortable with all forms of sexual expression. Being a sex positive person means that you view sex as a natural, healthy part of your identity, you’re comfortable to engage in conversations about sex and you disassociate with the shame culture surrounding sex and relationships.
As a woman, being sex positive is particularly important. Primarily because, although positive change is happening slowly, we’re still faced with a hell of a lot of double standards in regards to sex. For example, if a man has slept with a lot of women, he’s usually perceived as a bit of a hero or a lad, whereas a woman would often be called negative things like a slut or would receive judgement.
What does it mean to be sex positive?
Being sex positive is largely about feeling comfortable with your sexual self, feeling like it’s an extension of your natural personality and feeling relaxed enough to enjoy it solo or other people. As you may or may not be aware, sex is actually really important for our mental and physical health. Studies have proven that regular orgasms are great for your skin, your nervous system, your sleep cycle, mood and even good for pain relief. Yes, the rumour is true, orgasms cure headaches, give it a try! Sex and orgasms can also help us to feel more in tune with ourselves physically, calmer and more focused and closer to others.
Are attitudes to sex changing?
On the whole, yes, I think they are. There’s a lot of open discussions happening online about female empowerment, female pleasure and sex in general. There are tv shows such as Sex Education on Netflix openly featuring topics such as masturbation, coming out and not being able to orgasm during sex. I couldn’t imagine any of that being discussed in a sex education class or on a tv show when I was a teenager!
Whether people are aware of the sex positive movement or not, I think slowly but surely, attitudes are changing and the younger generations, in particular, are being far more vocal, open and honest about sex and relationships in general. Now we just need that message and that attitude to spread far and wide!
For example, how often have you felt like you can’t relate to certain sex toys or other sex products? The garish, over the top packaging and raunchy messaging does appeal to some, but I would imagine most women would agree that we would prefer something a bit more subtle.
Or how many of you have felt awkward or embarrassed when you have a little peek in the sex toy section of the lingerie store? I believe this stems from being taught at an early age that sex is not for pleasure, sex is scary and dangerous and not about pleasure. We’re almost taught that we should explore our bodies in secret. Have you ever told someone you masturbate and they appear shocked – yet they wouldn’t react at all if it was a man they were having that conversation with?
We need to start normalising female bodies, female pleasure and sex in general. It’s something that the majority of us do, for enjoyment and happiness, so why the stigma?
Are you sex positive? Or do you have any positive experiences with sex education? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!