I recently had an interesting debate with a friend: Does having a lot of sex mean you are sex positive? To cut a pretty long discussion short: His view was (or is) that gay men in particular are pretty sex positive, because generally spoken, they have a lot of [opportinities for] sex. I tried to defend the point that some gay men may be promiscuous – and may have a lot of sex, but … that much of gay dating life is actually pretty sex negative. How come?
Part of the problem maybe what you consider sex positivity. If you head over to The Frisky, they have a pretty neat definition/8 point plan related to sex positivity. Although their definition is not written gay men (I know… we need to talk about that term one day soon…) in mind, when you read it, you can pretty quickly figure out the difference between sex positivity – and what is happening on the gay scene (or even in the wider community). Think the “No Fats, No Fems” controversy – or the No Asians or No Blacks stuff… and those are just the headline grabbing things.
Of course, things are not always quite as overt as in the examples before… but think about how we are pigeonholing people into different categories: from Twinks, Bears, Daddies, Tops and Bottoms… and you name it…., to pretty overt “slut shaming” (“Truvada Whore”, anyone?). Yes, there is pretty of sex seemingly “on tap” for gay men: from apps to cruising areas. But isn’t this exactly what Rachel is calling glamourising sex…? And asexuals are really a pretty marginalised group when it comes to “the community” , particularly a community where the pure notion of not having sex (for whatever reason) generally results in a pitying look. … I’m somehow struggling to put the Chemsex stuff in here somewhere… but often it seems like people get into it precisely because of the general sexual negativity surrounding themselves: So they take drugs to feel good about themselves, drugs to get high and drugs to have sex – often not because they want to, but because sex, the perfect body etc. is highly glamourised – and celebrated, even at “inclusive” events like pride. Again, I don’t want to judge it, and it may not be such a direct route, but it certainly seems to be a pretty plausible link to me [let me know what you think….please!].
OK, to be fair, there are a lot of people I know who are gay and sex positive, who wouldn’t dream of ruling dating someone out based on their ethnicity, and who are respectful about sexual choices other people make. I really don’t want to let this post become a blatant “brush them all with the same brush” sort of post (which really, wouldn’t be very sex positive at all, wouldn’t it?!). Nevertheless, I do think we have a bit of work to do to challenge sexual negativity within the gay community. And no, I don’t exclude myself here… I think I have quite a bit of learning to do, too!!
Luckily… The Intellectual Homosexual over on his blog published a good starting tips… I hope he doesn’t mind that I’m stealing them for here (I do genuinely urge you to read the rest of his post – and blog – here )
- Recognize and support everyone’s right and desire to have sex
- Recognize and support everyone’s right and desire to NOT have sex.
- Practice safer sex. Treat it as an act of love for yourself.
- Like the people you have sex with.
- Take pride in what turns you on, and stand up for yourself if anybody tries to put you down for it.
- Have a fucking good time.
- If you had a sexual experience that wasn’t what you hoped, learn from it.
- Communicate it to the partner(s) if you want to try again, or find others who can make the experience better for you.
- If you have some awesome story of a sexual exploit and you’re just dying to tell someone about it, make sure they want to hear it first.
- Surround yourself with other sex-positive people!
What do you think? Do we need more sex-positivity? Let’s talk! Please use the comment section below.