What Does “Sex-Positive” Mean?
Some fear that if we create a more sex-positive society — meaning that we stop repressing women’s sexuality — that NO ONE will put on the BRAKES! And society will go mad.
So what do I mean by “sex-positive”?
To be sex-positive is to see sex as beautiful and natural, and not shaming women’s sexuality – or any sexuality. But recognizing that it is a powerful gift that should be used responsibly.
Does sex-positive mean anything goes?
But I get follow-up questions, like this from HuggyBear:
That sounds great and harmless. But… it fails to address specific sexual behavior(s). So, does that mean porn is OK? Does, it mean prostitution is OK? What about young women becoming sugar babies? What about men who want to establish a harem? Will abortion rates rise?
Should we just use one another sexually and then discard each other like a soda can afterwards?
I realize and accept that sex is beautiful, natural, healthy, and fun! It should, in and of itself, not be seen as something that is either bad or shameful. But, where do we draw a line? I am not suggesting that sex should only take place in marriage… or that there should be no premarital sex. Since we live in a free and open society, can we place any curbs on sexual behavior? If so, who will do it? Is it even practicable..?
I appreciate questions like this, and below is my response, so far. I’m still thinking through the question, and wondering if anyone else has thoughts on the topic?
Sex-positive, responsible sex
Sex-positive means enjoy sex, recognize it as beautiful, natural, healthy and fun. But be responsible. Meaning: Do no harm.
And here is how I would apply that basic philosophy to the specific questions he asks:
Abortion rates in the most sex-positive countries are actually lower than abortion rates in sex-negative cultures.
The abortion rate is 32 per 1,000 in Latin America, which is a strongly Catholic and sex-negative part of the world, where abortion is typically illegal under most circumstances. But the rate is only 12 per 1,000 in more sex-positive Western Europe, where abortion is broadly allowed.
Sounds counterintuitive, but the reason why sex-positive societies have lower abortion rates is because they are more likely to have sex education and access to birth control. And young women are less likely to feel shameful using contraception, and thus, more likely to use it. So people are more likely to be responsible, and do no harm.
Porn & prostitution
Pornography is okay so long as it doesn’t harm. If it is harming then that is a problem. Many men recognize when pornography is harming them — maybe harming their relationships. For instance, some guys can no longer “get it up” with real women. That is doing harm.
If violent pornography causes violence against women, then that is wrong. At the least, people should be educated on possible dangers.
I believe that prostitution should be decriminalized but that “Johns” and pimps should be prosecuted. Because that is the most effective way to stop sex trafficking, which is incredibly harming, with high rates of PTSD among victims. You can’t make a law against sugar babies. But women or men who feel harmed by it should not do it.
Using/abusing and establishing harems
Should men be allowed to establish harems? Not sure why a woman would want to be part of one. But if everyone is into it and no one is hurt by it, then I don’t see that it’s a big deal. Of course, women should be able to establish harems of men, too. Not sure they will have any more luck than guys seeking concubines.
And I don’t think that anyone should use and abuse anyone else. That is hurtful.
It’s very important that we become a more sex-positive, and more sex-responsible society. As it is, our sexually repressed culture has led to dysfunction among nearly half of American women (e.g., painful sex, difficulty with orgasm, low or no interest in sex). It’s not good for women. It’s not good for relationships. It’s not good for men. It’s not good for anyone.
If anyone has thoughts on the topic I’m curious to hear from you.