The True Meaning of Sex Positivity

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Written By: Ashley Paul


You might have heard the term “sex-positivity” and wondered what it was all about. Sex-positivity is the empowering idea that sex, in all of its forms, is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a stance that consensual sex and the variations of human sexuality are a healthy and pleasurable part of the human experience.

Sex is a very intimate and personal part of ordinary life. Fostering a positive attitude about sexual urges and sexual activity is essential to allow you to express your most authentic self.

Being sex-positive is a state of mind. It means embracing sex in a judgment-free way. It can also mean the opposite – nurturing a healthy attitude toward a lack of sex given your individual needs.

Dr. Michael Krychman, a certified sexual counselor points out that, “Being sex-positive is all about embracing that sexuality is a very important part of who you are, irrespective of your age and irrespective of the social construct.”

The sex-positive movement is all about individual sovereignty, consensual sex, and safe sex practices. While these notions may seem obvious to many contemporary women, some people fundamentally disagree.

“Women, especially, are still under the watchful eyes of those with puritanical attitudes,” Dr. Krychman points out. “There are still a lot of preconceived ideas – political, cultural, religious, geographical – that affect how a woman views herself, and the reaction she’s going to get from society.”

Gender Roles and Sex Positivity

Gender roles are behaviors deemed appropriate to a person’s gender and are determined by the prevailing cultural norms. As a construct, the gender binary tends to put people into boxes.

The terms "sex-positive" and "sex-negative" were originally coined by Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian psychoanalyst and doctor of medicine in the 1930s who recognized the hypocritical nature of these constructs.

Reich was a student of Sigmund Freud, and his original hypothesis was that some societies look at sexual expression as good and healthy, while others have an overall negative outlook on sexuality and aim to suppress and control libido.

In 1960s America, hippies involved in the “free love” movement believed that sex and sexuality were a loving, beautiful, and natural part of life. They found the traditional attitudes on sexuality to be hypocritical and brazenly chauvinistic.

Dovetailing with the sexual liberation movement of the swinging '60s, the sex-positive movement strides forward and beyond the status quo – it regards sexual orientation, sexual activity, and masturbation as a matter of personal preference.

Dial into the Movement

The sex-positive movement has been instrumental in dissolving gender myths and sexual violence. Developing self-defined sexuality can allow you to value healthy consensual sexual relationships.

When you dial into the sex-positive vibration, you're taking ownership of yourself and your bodily autonomy. You're not saying that you will have sex with everyone; you're saying that you have the right to have sex with anyone you like. You're also saying that you will not have sex if you don’t want to.

These rights – to have sex or abstain – also extend to others; you accept others’ rights to reject your sexual advances.

I can’t think of anything hotter or more freeing than that.


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