Thursday, February 18, 2016

7 Things You Need to Know About Sex-Positivism

I've been reluctant to take on many labels as an erotic romance author and as someone who has participated in nonmonogamy. But one label I happily subscribe to is sex-positive. Here's why:

I started an Instagram account for my Phoebe Alexander brand this week. (authorphoebealexander if you want to check it out). The two main hashtags I use are #bodypositive and #sexpositive. I think the two are very much related. Body positivism has become pretty mainstream in the past year or two, but I feel there's still some work to be done about sex positivism. Here are 7 things you should know about this movement:

1. Sexy doesn't have a color, race, size, shape, maximum age or gender.
Sexy is truly in the eye of the beholder. We've had the media's idea of sexy shoved down our throat for far too long. It's a very narrow subset of the population that meets the criteria, yet sex is something that most humans enjoy. We all have reasons to feel sexy no matter what we look like or where we come from.

2. Sex is natural.
We are all here because of sex. Sexual desire is natural and beneficial from an evolutionary point of view. Yes, the biological and psychological aspects of it are complex, but on a very basic level we are sexual animals and shouldn't be ashamed to act accordingly.

3. Sex is so much more than penis + vagina.
Toss out old-fashioned (dare I say Clintonian?) perceptions of what sex is. Penetrative penis in vagina sex is but a small subset of the sexual universe. Terms such as "virginity" and "having sex" are meaningless in some contexts. We need to think much more broadly so we can include non hetero-normative sexual activities in our definitions. Part of the sex positive movement in accepting that others' practices may differ from ours and that is OK as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult.

4. Sex positive means no slut shaming and no virgin shaming.
Gone are the days of the double standard where men are encouraged to experience multiple sex partners over their lifetimes but women are not. Gone are the days where it's acceptable to shame, bully, or look down on someone who enjoys sex or enjoys it differently than you do. Gone are the days where it's alright to make fun of someone for choosing not to have sex.
Having sex does not make a person good or bad. Not having sex does not make a person good or bad. Whether a person is good or bad has nothing to do with their consensual sexual choices and everything to do with how they treat other people.

5. Sex positive means no one is being exploited, coerced, or forced to do anything they don't want to do.
That one should really speak for itself. Everyone determines their own boundaries and limits and has the agency to enforce them.

6. Sex ed begins at birth by teaching children to love and respect their bodies.
Fostering sex-positivism begins very early as we teach children about the value of their bodies and the pleasure they are capable of giving and receiving. We send messages to children all the time about sex, whether we intend to or not. It's imperative to teach them about healthy outlets and relationships from the start in age appropriate ways.

7. Sex is good for you!
There are so many health benefits to sex that are often overlooked. This is by no means a definitive list, but here are a few:
 - strengthens your immune system
- lowers blood pressure
- reduces stress
- increases heart rate and burns calories

The sex positive movement has to do with reframing the way we think about sex. Is there anything you would add to this list?

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