It’s the start of the new week, and also the first Monday of December! What better reason than to check in with ourselves and see if our own mindset isn’t besieged by the popular sex-negative attitude surrounding us in our society today.
What is a sex-positive mindset all about? Here is an exert from Day 5 of my book “Sexual Discovery for Gay Men“:
The Sex-Positive Mindset
Today’s objective: Defining sex-positivity
Well, for three days we have been dealing with negative stuff. High time to switch and focus on the positive! So, let’s see what a sex positive mindset looks like. I’m avoiding the term environment here, as sadly the reality is that most societies are simply highly sex negative. But individuals can change their mindset! Hence it seems sensible to focus on the individual at this point.
Sex-positivity in itself is quite a challenge to define, at least in detail. Basically it is obviously the opposite to sex negativity, which is the space where sex is always subject to judgement by others and manipulated to fit a certain ideal. Hence, sex-positivity is a space where individuals ‘own’ their sex without judgement. It means embracing diverse forms of sex, respecting not only yourself but also others. How does this look in practice? In my own way of looking at it, having a sex positive mindset involves seven principles:
1) Own your sex
First and foremost, having a sex positive mindset is about ‘owning’ your sex: it is yours to give, not theirs to take. And only you know what you want, how you want it, how often you want it. Don’t let your environment dictate what you should have or should not be having.
2) Respect everyone’s choices regarding their sex
Just as you have the right, it is important to extend the same respect to others. This means acknowledging everyone’s right to have the sex they want to have – including their right not have sex. It is not for you to judge others and the sex they own.
Sex between partners must be negotiated. Clear, enthusiastic consent is the basis of all sex positive sex. Your sex is yours. Their sex is theirs. Implied or assumed consent is not enough. Neither one has the right to force or manipulate someone else to have sex they don’t want. But also, neither one has the right to stop anyone from having the sex they want, as long as it is with people who consent to it.
The first three are the core principles of sex-positivity for me. The following four points flow from these three. While the first three are necessities, the next four are rights. That is to say you have the right to do this, but there isn’t an obligation to do them.
4) Exploring your sex freely
You have the right to explore your sex freely, the way you want to. You have the right to challenge sexual role models and you should expect to be encouraged, respected and supported to do this by your partners.
5) Engaging with your fantasies
You have the right to engage and develop your fantasies and express them freely without fear of judgement or disrespect.
6) Learning about sex
You have the right to learn about sex: different types of sex, sexual health, ways of expressing sexuality,… nobody should ever stop you from learning.
You have the right to communicate freely and honestly about sex, sexual fantasies, experiences and ideas. Of course, this is extremely important in consent seeking. But communication goes beyond this. If you had good sex, make sure you tell your partner. If you had bad sex, and you want to improve it with the same partner, talk to him.
I hope these seven principles make sense to you. Of course, you may choose to define your own way of seeing sex-positivity. In fact, taking the above as an example, I’d like you to write your own sex positive manifesto today. That is to say, don’t make it a few general points which are applicable to everyone. Write a sex positive manifesto just for you.
Take-home message for today: A sex positive is about owning your sex. And respecting the rights of others to do the same.
Want to explore more about a sex-positive life?
My book contains all the materials for the Sexual Discovery for Gay Men workshop and is available from any good bookseller.
Or as a digital PDF download here: