How Sex Positive Are You, Really?

In many open relationships and alternative sexuality communities, there is talk about being more “sex positive.” Considering the negative attitudes and beliefs we have all grown up with regarding sexuality in general, and alternative means of expression specifically, this is an admirable goal.

However, this could be a more difficult task than many realize. Not only were we exposed to these negative attitudes during our formative years, we continue to have them reinforced in the dominant culture surrounding us.

The language and terminology we continue to use in our lives can, in subtle ways, undermine the sex positive attitude we want to portray. Let me give you some examples:

“F*ck you”. When we use of the term “f*ck you”, we mean it as an insult to someone with whom you are angry or upset. But if “f*cking” is supposed to be a joyous, pleasurable experience to share, why are you wishing this on someone who you are upset with? Shouldn’t it be something you wish on your friends and people you care about?

“You’re a pussy”. This is another insult thrown about that implies someone is weak, powerless or lame. If pussy is a term for a woman’s genitals and, as sex positive people we think female genitals as wonderful things, why is it an insult? Why are women’s genitals seen as weak and less powerful and certainly something people wouldn’t want to be? What does it say about our ingrained misogyny that we use it as an insult?

“Cock-sucker”. Most men I have encountered are more than happy to have someone pleasure their penis with their mouth. So, if they enjoy and desire this type of interaction, what makes it bad or insulting to be a cock-sucker? Shouldn’t this be a compliment or a term or reverence? I would think that in a truly sex positive world, being a cock sucker would make you a highly valued individual.

STI’s. Language and terminology around STI’s (sexually transmitted infections) also come across as highly negative, judgmental and fear-based. It is a good thing for people to discuss being tested for STI’s, yet we often say that a negative test (no infections) means they are “clean” and that someone with an infection is “dirty.” However, if you found out your friend has the flu, are they “dirty”? If a throat culture for strep throat comes back as negative, are you “clean”? Of course not! They are practically neutral. As sex positive people wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say one has a positive or negative STI test result rather than using the terms clean or dirty?

So, How Sex Positive Are You, Really?

It takes a lot of work and conscious thought to move past these (and other) negative terms that promote fear, judgment, shame and negativity around sex and sexuality. Even those of us who work to put forth a more sex positive attitude into the world will slip from time to time. It’s ok. It takes time. It can be challenging to truly be sex positive in the sex negative world we all live in.

So, in the spirit of being sex positive, let me end by saying, “f*ck you, all you beautiful, powerful pussies and delightful cock-suckers. Remember, we love you!”

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