Being Sex-Positive in a Sexphobic World

Life is full of hypocrisies. Our world revolves around ideas of love/hate relationships, and the notion that opposites attract. These are often relatively innocuous, but one of the most common, and most dangerous, hypocrisies that our society consistently perpetuates is our simultaneous obsession with, and paranoid fear of, the most natural thing our human bodies can do.

Sex.

We live in a society that is terrified of it, and it’s time we faced our fears.

We use it to sell everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Cars, food, freakin’ shampoo (I see you, Herbal Essences)?! But God forbid we talk about it candidly. We actually call it ‘it’ because we can’t possibly utter its name in civilised conversation. But, let’s face it, folks: your grandparents do it, your parents do it, you probably have, or are going to do it, and, most likely, your children will too. (Unless you’re asexual, and even then, it might still be something that you will experience.) It’s one of our base human instincts, along with eating, drinking, and sleeping! So, let’s get rid of our Victorian era hang-ups, be brave, and acknowledge the truth: SEX. IS. NATURAL.

So, now that we’ve got that out in the open, let’s talk about sex-positivity.

Now, the idea of being ‘sex-positive’ is far more than the simple acceptance that, yes, sex happens. That’s just step one, the easy part, if you will. Sex-positivity comes from accepting that everyone has sex in different ways without negative judgement (sexual predators aside, of course). For all of my liberal friends and readers out there, this, again, sounds relatively easy, but I invite you to step out of our liberal bubble that we find ourselves so comfortable in, the echo chamber we so frequently scream into in vain, and see that this notion is unreasonably difficult for countless people to wrap their heads around.

In our society, those who dare to enjoy sex, especially if it’s not in the age-old “penis in a vagina for pro-creational purposes” way, are relentlessly vilified for their ‘heinous’ behaviour. Slut-shaming is painfully common in most women’s lives, whether they even have sex regularly or not, just the mere suggestion of it is enough to warrant tearing them apart. Unplanned teen pregnancies are frequently stigmatised for their ‘irresponsibility’, though most are a result of poor sex education from parents and teachers alike. Sex workers, both in the porn industry and prostitution, are constantly demeaned for their work, despite the ridiculously high demand for their services. The number of rape cases compared to actual convictions are enough to make anyone question their faith in humanity. Female Genital Mutilation is a very real problem in so many countries across the world including Western societies, a practice created solely to make sure that women can’t possibly enjoy the sex they will be forced to have. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are still bullied, attacked and even killed for their sexual identity. And when you list it all together, along with countless other problems there undoubtedly are, you can’t help but think “DAMN, our society has some weird complex about sex, because this is some fucked up shit”. For some reason, sex is something that has to be controlled, both in legislature and in unspoken societal ‘norms’. It’s fine as a commodity that we can use to make money from, but don’t you dare enjoy it as a key component of being human. The dangers of a culture of sexphobia range from simple name-calling, to the horrors of rape and murder. So, if promoting sex-positivity can help to eradicate any of these hideous abominations from happening, then educating people about it is what we have to do.

So, let’s lay it down:

Men enjoy sex. So do women. And non-binary people do too, and NO, it doesn’t matter what genitals they have, it’s weird that you want to know. Whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, intersex or whatever classification you want to give yourself, you can enjoy sex in a whole host of ways. Young, old, black, white, disabled, able-bodied, single, married, on your own, with one partner, with many partners, kinky or just plain old vanilla, it’s ALL NATURAL. There’s even people that identify as asexual and don’t find any of this appealing at all. Guess what? That’s normal too! As long as it’s consensual, safe, and no one gets hurt (unless that’s what you want of course ;)), then how can you oppose what is essentially the most human thing you can do?

Now, I’m not saying that we should be shouting about our latest conquest in the office or sharing your favourite sexual position over breakfast with Grandma. There are times and places, and we all have our own personal levels of privacy. But if you’d have been able to talk openly about sex with your parents or teachers, could you have avoided some awkward mistakes in your teens? Or wouldn’t it be nice to talk to a friend about whether something is ‘normal’ with your body, rather than googling it alone? By normalising these conversations, we can enforce a more open and honest view of sex in our everyday lives, rather than perpetuating misconceptions and fear.

Ultimately, it’s about love and understanding, and understanding that people ‘love’ in so many different ways. Ways you didn’t know could exist. And if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it that way, do it your way. But the more we talk about sex as a natural thing, we break down barriers. And by breaking barriers and embracing each other’s quirks and kinks, the happier we will be, individually and as a society. Because, honestly, who wants to hold on to fear, hatred and bigotry? It makes for a very angry and dissatisfied life.

Be loving. Be understanding. Be sex-positive.

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