Let’s start the week Sex-Positively!

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“:

Day 5
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.

3) Consent
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.

7) Communicate
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.

ISBN 978-1973779131 (soft cover)   978-1370218707 (eBook)
To order online see bookfinder  or Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR

Or as a digital PDF download here:

Day 12: Talking and Negotiating Consent

Sexual consent: I want you to … talk to me! Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Negotiating consent

Yesterday’s activity asked you to start negotiating consent, at least on a fictional level. Let’s recap quickly how consent works. Here are the five golden rules of consent:

1. If anything is ambiguous, stop it and don’t go any further.
2. Acting sexy, being naked, in a place where sex occurs, sexually active with someone else etc… all of this is not consent for you.
3. If either party can’t fully consent (under influence of alcohol, drugs, under age, unaware of the risks, etc..), there is no consent.
4. A previous consent does not mean a present consent – even in a relationship.
5. All boundaries are hard rules and not negotiable guidelines.

Many of these rules should be self evident, however,… [End of preview]

The full Sexual Discovery for Gay Men workshop materials  are now available as a soft cover book, ebook and directly downloadable PDF!

30 days of sex positive activities, self discovery
and hot, playful learning!

Available from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1973779131 (soft cover)   978-1370218707 (eBook)
To order online see bookfinder  or Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR

Or as a digital PDF download here:

Day 11: Consent

No means no. Click To Tweet

Today’s objective: Exploring how to seek and give consent.

Within the sex positive community seeking and giving consent is an important topic. Being sex positive doesn’t mean you have you are always willing to have sex. It means you are seeking the sex you want – and giving the sex you and your partners want to share. In the straight community sexual consent has become an increasingly important topic, while sadly in the gay community it is (at least at an explicit level) still often overlooked.

[End of preview]

The full Sexual Discovery for Gay Men workshop materials  are now available as a soft cover book, ebook and directly downloadable PDF!

30 days of sex positive activities, self discovery
and hot, playful learning!

Available from any good bookseller.
ISBN 978-1973779131 (soft cover)   978-1370218707 (eBook)
To order online see bookfinder  or Amazon:   US – UK – CADE – FRIT – IN – JP – BR

Or as a digital PDF download here:

Be Proud, Not Pushy: A Guide To Pride Etiquette

I’ve come to realize how often the conversation stalls when it comes to consent outside of the bedroom. Click To Tweet

A guest post by Kitty Stryker
Editor of “Ask: Building Consent Culture” & Porn’s Riot Grrl

I’ve been going around the country talking about consent culture for years now, often in alternative communities – BDSM, polyamory, Burning Man, swingers, queer folks, etc. It’s a topic I care deeply about, but I’ve come to realize how often the conversation stalls when it comes to consent outside of the bedroom – the consent of negotiating daily interactions vs sexy fun times.

As this is Pride month, I began to flash back to the various ways I had come to accept as normal in the party atmosphere of the Pride parties I’ve been to over the years.

Every time I go to a Pride event, at least one of the following 5 things happens:

1. Someone (usually a gay man or a straight girl) grabs my breasts or costume without asking

2. Someone takes a sneaky photo without my consent or knowledge

3. Someone tries to offer me something dosed without letting me know upfront

4. Someone loudly interrupts a conversation I’m having (almost always with another queer femme) to center themselves in a desperate bid for attention

5. Someone will attempt to use their inebriation as an excuse for crossing my boundaries

I want to acknowledge that it is not just heterosexual allies who do these pushy, entitled things, but fellow queer folks. From talking to my friends, it seems it’s sunk into the common consciousness as just something one has to tolerate to be in those spaces.

I think that’s absurd, and I wanted to offer a quick and easy guide on how to perpetuate consent culture in these spaces so everyone can celebrate and feel safe.

1. Don’t touch people without asking. This should be super basic, but, ask people before you hug them, ask people before you kiss them, ask people before you touch their hair, their costume, their body, their wheelchair, etc. It doesn’t matter if you’re not “sexually attracted,” it’s still grabbing at someone without asking and that’s not ok. A smile and checking in about consent can make an interaction really amazing and intimate instead of deeply unsettling and scary.

2. Let people know before you take their photo. I have a very selfish reason for this – I generally want to see copies of photos taken of whatever awesome outfit I’m wearing! But there’s other reasons why this is important. It’s respectful, and indicates that you’re not trying to be sneaky or creepy. It also allows people to say “no thanks,” which, if you don’t let them say no, they can’t really consent, can they? There’s lots of good reasons people don’t want their photo taken – they may not be out, they may have dysphoria, they may be shy, they may just not want to be the subject of a photograph. Ask, and respect the response.

3. PLEASE tell people if your cookies are “special.” If you don’t want to take the risk of having your dosed goodies intercepted by the cops? Don’t bring them. As someone who is really allergic to weed, getting accidentally dosed by a well-meaning partygoer could really ruin, not just my day, but my whole week. Also, don’t waste good edibles on people like me who will just end up hospitalized! Give them to folks who will really appreciate them.

4. Be respectful of people’s space. We covered physical space in the first point, but I also want to encourage you to be respectful of people’s emotional boundaries. If you’re a heterosexual woman, maybe don’t go to a bunch of parties specifically marketed to gay men – similarly, if you’re a straight man, leave lesbians alone? If you’re white, sit out the Pride party your Black and brown friends have that’s POC only. If your trans friends need space to process their feelings, don’t invade.

5. Drink more water, cause being fucked up is not an excuse to violate people. For many cities, Pride is less of a protest and more of a party. I have mixed feelings about that, on a personal level, but it’s where we’re at now. Oftentimes, Pride means a lot of outside drinking in the sunlight, sweating from dancing all day, perhaps indulging in other chemicals, and just not drinking enough water. Dehydration and being under the influence can certainly join hands in leading people to make poor decisions about boundaries, both their own and other people’s. Don’t be that person getting sloppy at Pride. Make sure you eat properly, and drink a bottle of water for every drink *at least*. Your liver and conscience will thank you.

This list is by all means not exhaustive – there’s lots of other ways you can encourage consent culture at Pride! But this is a very good start. By respecting each other’s bodily autonomy, we can ensure that our queer spaces are safer spaces… and by learning and modeling how to do it better, maybe we can shift the cultural consciousness. Or at least have a better party.

 

kitty.001Kitty Stryker is a feminist writer, queer activist, and rising authority on developing a consent culture in alternative communities as well as an active member of the genderqueer feminist art collective, the NorCal Degenderettes. She was the founder of ConsentCulture.com, a now offline website that ran for 4 years as a hub for LGBT/kinky/poly folks looking for a sex critical approach to relationships. Now fundraising for a book tour in honor of her book “Ask: Building Consent Culture” (an anthology through Thorntree Press coming out in 2017), Kitty tours internationally speaking at universities and conferences about feminism, sex work, body positivity, queer politics, and more. She lives in Oakland, California with her wife, boyfriend, and two cats, Foucault and Nietzsche. For media inquiries and bookings, email miss.kitty.stryker@gmail.com.