Think Sex-Positive: Shifting Your Mindset and Being Judgement Free
We have just entered a new year. If there’s a better time to leave your old-fashioned beliefs behind and start adopting a more sex-positive attitude, it’s now.
You may have seen the term "sex positivity" going around social media for quite a while, but this concept is more than just a trend. Sex positivity is a culture and a state of mind. It's about accepting and respecting all sexual fantasies, preferences, experiences, and expressions and not putting stigma and shame on someone else's different sexual lifestyle.
Let's admit it—even if we're now in the modern age, there are still people who stick to their narrow idea of what sex should be like. These are the people who often discriminate and slut-shame others. As we start another year, let's stop being a part of such a sex-negative culture. Shifting your mindset and having a positive look at sex will help you build better relationships with people, make you more accepting of everyone's sexual choices, and even influence others on how they see sex.
“Sex positivity can help a person disentangle the source of their sexual shame and uncover their true feelings,” said Sarah Melancon, PhD, a sociologist and certified sexologist. “This can allow [them] to create a healthier relationship with their sexuality, enjoy greater pleasure, and reap the physical, emotional, and relationship benefits of a happy sex life.”
Allow us to tell you further about sex positivity and how you can embrace a more open and accepting attitude.
Traits of sex-positive individuals:
- Believing that sex or any sexual deed is something to be enjoyed and celebrated.
- Feeling comfortable asking questions about sex and willing to understand different sexual desires.
- Not afraid to talk about sex, intimacy, and kinks with partners.
- Understanding the importance of safe sex and that it's not just about preventing STDs or pregnancy.
- Considering sex as a part of a healthy relationship.
- Open to hearing other sexual desires and fantasies.
- Setting healthy sexual boundaries.
- Getting professional help whenever you have sexual problems, whether physical or psychological.
- Supporting laws, movements, and comprehensive sex education.
What sex positivity is NOT:
Many misconceptions surround the sex-positive concept. One of them is that sex positivity means having lots of sex.
According to Theo Burnes, PhD, a psychologist and the director of clinical training at Antioch University:
“Being sex positive doesn't necessarily mean that you're having an increased frequency of sexual behavior, or sexual encounters, or sexual arousal, but it does mean that you have an openness and a non-judgmental attitude toward engaging in sex, talking about sex, being open to other people talking about sex.”
Besides, there are tons of people out there who enjoy sex yet still criticize and judge those different sexual desires or kinks.
Sex positivity is also NOT about being hypersexual. Having a positive mindset towards sex doesn't give you the ticket to do the deed with a bunch of randoms or treat a person as a sexual object. More than that, being sex-positive is NOT about believing that sex can never be bad or traumatic for someone.
How to become more sex-positive:
Now that you have a good understanding of sex positivity, let's talk about how you can adopt such a mindset.
Accept and never judge.
Realize that not all of us practice the same sexual lifestyles. Some people have specific "weird" kinks, fantasies, and fetishes—and that's okay.
Whether they get sexual pleasures from balloons or feel more aroused when spanking and choking their partners, we don't have the right to judge. Let's respect their sexual choices as long as they are happy and not hurting anyone. After all, who wants to be shamed for doing something you really enjoy?
Becoming sex-positive doesn’t happen overnight. Educate yourself on the sexual experiences of others, specifically those who do not share the same preferences as you. You may talk with transgenders, bisexuals, people who enjoy BDSM, or those living with HIVs so you can understand them better and develop a more open mindset.
Also, keep learning things about sexual health and safety practices as well as discriminatory beliefs like sexism, racism, and ageism. Doing so will help you have your own stand and opinion instead of merely relying on others to tell you what to believe.
Yes, sex is not something we usually talk about over dinner. But having a little sex talk session with your friends or partner will allow you to discuss your wants and desires and do something about them. For couples, open conversations about intimacy will help you feel more connected with each other and build a healthy, lasting relationship.
"Talk about sex," said Jessica O'Reilly, PhD, a Toronto-based sexologist. "Talk about what you like and dislike, what you fear, how you feel, and any questions you might have. Our culture is simultaneously hyper-sexual and sex-negative, and sexual messages are therefore highly contradictory. By discussing your concerns, uncertainties, vulnerabilities, and desires more openly with trusted friends or partners, you can address some of these contradictions and embrace a life in which sex plays an overwhelmingly positive role."
If you’ve seen our recent 2022 New Year's Sex Resolutions post, you’d know how much of a supporter we are of body positivity and self-love.
Being sex-positive begins when you also have a positive look on your body. Love all your curves, respect yourself, use items or wear sexy lingerie that make you feel powerful and confident, and only focus on the traits you love about your body. As RuPaul said: "If you don't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love someone else?"
Don’t be negative.
It's sad to see how many of us still view sex as dirty, disgusting, and immoral. Look around you; you'll find a lot of people who still slut shames women, degrade those living with AIDS or HIV, and discuss anyone else's sexual choices or gossip about what they actually do in the bedroom. Our society can be very sex-negative that it makes harder for people to express themselves.
Some sex-negative behaviors include:
- Judging women for being too sexually active and seeing them as unworthy individuals who don’t deserve to be taken seriously.
- Shaming girls for wearing daring or revealing clothes.
- Calling someone “gay” as a joke or an insult.
- Degrading sex workers, trans, and bisexuals.
- Condemning fetishes, kinks, and other sex acts that don’t personally appeal to you.
- Seeing sexually transmitted diseases as something embarrassing.
- Believing anal sex is only for gay men.
- Supporting sex education that only focuses on the risks of sex.
Sex is not something to be ashamed of. We should stop making people feel bad about their sexual choices and just let them enjoy their sexuality however they like. This 2022, let’s all create an environment where everyone can freely express who they are—no judgements, no discriminations.