Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What It Means to Be Sex Positive

As I was pulling educational materials together for the Carnal-Val event last month, I pulled together definitions of what it means to be sex positive.

This is one of the most comprehensive definitions I've found as stated by the Executive Director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle...

Sex-positive is a cultural philosophy that understands sexuality as a positive force in personal development and society. To be sex-positive is to believe that…

Consensual sexual expression is a basic human right regardless of the form that expression takes.

People have the right to accurate and straightforward sexual health information.

It is not appropriate to judge others consensual choices regarding how to have sex, who to have sex with, and how one defines their sexual orientation and identity.

It is equally important to focus on the positive aspects of sexuality, like sexual pleasure, and not just disease prevention, prevention of sexual assault and unwanted pregnancy.

Sexuality is largely socially constructed, and there are few if any essential truths about sex.

As I reflected on this definition, I realized that I have not been practicing sex positivity with myself.

Because I am very literally surrounded by people who explore and encourage casual sex and relationship in various ways, whether they are couples or single, I have assumed that sex positive means being open to casual interaction. I have felt pressure as a sex positive leader to explore sexual openness through ethical sluttiness, especially within the poly relationship that I attempted with Knight.

The truth is that I have lacked a sex positive attitude towards my own natural sexual tendencies because they are very different than most of the people I know. I have doubted myself and tried to tell different stories about who I am in order to fit into other people's ideas of open sexuality. While open-minded exploration of my own edges in order to determine who I am and what I desire is a positive thing, doubting/distrusting myself is not.

Over the summer I explored the possibility of being an ethical slut and pursuing casual sexual and power exchange encounters. While I had conversations with several people, I only had one casual encounter, which was fun but less than fulfilling. In my explorations I discovered that I have no desire to connect with someone sexually if I do not connect with them intellectually and emotionally. I don't experience excitement from encounters with (near) strangers like many of my friends. I don't experience excitement from sexual chemistry alone.

I experience excitement in connecting with people at multiple levels, at having my mind, heart and body stimulated simultaneously. Being sex positive is accepting that that it is all right to only desire deeper connection with my sexual partners.

While I am a lusty woman who can get down and dirty in all kinds of ways, the truth is that sex is a sacred act in my life. I am learning to accept that the fullest expression of my sexuality is intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical. Anything less is not in integrity with who I am or what I desire.

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