The foundation of sex-positivity is simply the idea that all healthy and explicitly consensual sex is a positive element in life.
Sex positivity means maintaining a healthy attitude towards sex and valuing it, given your individual needs. Sex positivity also embraces the idea of being sexually educated and staying safe. Individuals who are sex-positive actively decide how and what they want from their sex lives, rather than letting others dictate it.
What Is The Sex Positivity Movement?
The sex-positive movement began in response to the many ways that sex-negative behaviours and attitudes that are active in our society. Many counsellors and sex therapists found themselves working with a generation of people who experience negative sexual attitudes such as shame and guilt or experiencing sexual abuse, sex addiction and avoidance.
Sex positivity approaches these issues somewhat like preventive medicine. If, as individuals and as a society, we embrace our sexuality as a positive element in life then we remove the conditions where negative attitudes can grow. In turn more positive attitudes and beliefs lead to more positive, affirming behaviour.
A sex-positive person will reflect on themselves about what they want from sex. What kind of sex do they like? What attractions do they want to explore? In answering these questions, they will embrace what they discover, rather than worry or feel shame about it. Another important element of sex-positivity is developing communication skills and sex skills to ensure that you and your partners are getting what you want from your playtime together.
Do We Need A Sex Positive Movement in India?
It's no secret that India doesn't have the most sex-positive attitude, but it very urgently needs a push in that direction.
Sex is highly important for mental and physical health. Making it secretive brings upon it an element of taboo. People, especially teenagers tend to learn about it the wrong way – either by watching the wrong kind of porn or asking the wrong people. India has recorded a large number of sexual abuse cases over the last few years, and sex-positivity may be the answer to reducing it.
Sex education or talking about sex in a matured way can help diminish sex abuse. The latest report by UNESCO on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) points out the urgent need for imparting this education to young people to help them lead healthy and sexually satisfying lives. Learning about sex in a cultured manner will instil a sense of respect for women, and not objectify them.
Sexual violence, rape, harassment can be kept in check to a large extent given that young adults can be sensitized towards the topic of sex and exploitation and help the recognize it. The sex-positive movement holds all genders o equal and objective ground and treats their desires the same way.
The whole sex-positive movement and sex-positive feminists believe that wanting to engage in any and all kinds of sexual intercourse is okay as long there are provisions for consent and safety. This includes but is not limited to participation in casual sex, having multiple, consenting sexual partners, not having any sexual partners, being asexual, being demisexual and everything on the spectrum.
How Do We Become More Sex Positive?
- Normalize Sex: The first thing we need to start doing is to normalize sex. Sex is an act of love or lust of which we are born of, so how can it be ‘dirty’? Sex is not dirty per se, but it’s because of our moral judgment that people perceive it as ‘sinful’. For instance, sex without marriage is considered a sin, an act of shame. But sex within marriage, whether it’s a happy one or not, is blissful, desirable and a foundation for happy generations. Realizing that sex is a positive emotion and a positive act and treating it as such is the best way to start.
- Communicate and Discuss: Try talking to your friends about it by asking a casual question or ask a partner what they want in bed. Pose a sexual issue you have been facing (maybe even fictitious). People you know would not mind talking freely. Of course, this does not mean ask the next person you meet on the train about their vaginal itches. But you can rely on your close circle to start a conversation about sex and sex-related issues.
- Respect: The next step in being sex-positive is to treat the idea of sex with ‘respect’ and not make it frivolous or seem less important. It’s an expression of love and commitment towards your partner, and towards your own physical needs. Even when it's casual, it doesn't lack respect or integrity - it's simply a choice and you should be able to respect that choice. No one is greater than the other if they choose not to have sex, or to have sex only with a partner or only after they are married - in all cases, respect is important.
- Sex Isn't Vulgarity: Diffenciating between crass, vulgar humour and making healthy jokes about sex is important. Shooting down dirty, uncalled for, and degrading jokes is the right thing to do because sex and vulgarity aren't the same things.
Sex positivity doesn't come without its own complicated criticism but at the face of it, it seems pretty straight-forward. Considering the current situation when it comes to sex in India is fragile, and largely hostile.