Being sex positive means having an open-minded approach to everyone’s consensual sexual choices and behaviours, including your own. It means accepting your choices and others’ as healthy and normal, and not judging people for their preferences. It also means being respectful, regardless of a person’s sexual and reproductive choices, and embracing the rich tapestry that makes up the spectrum of human wants and desires.
When it comes to your own desires, having a positive approach to sex and sexuality isn’t something to be ashamed of. In fact, embracing positive sexuality and being realistic about what you want, like and need is good for you, your mindset and your sexual and reproductive health.
This year, resolve to start thinking about your sexual desires in a positive way, as this will improve your health, boost your self-esteem, and help you to enjoy a satisfying, safe and empowering sex life.
4 Practical tips for developing a positive approach to sex and sexuality
Being sex positive doesn’t necessarily mean you want to have lots of sex. It means educating yourself, understanding sex and consent, and not feeling guilty about your desires, preferences, likes and dislikes.
With this in mind, here are four ways you can start practicing sex positivity:
1. Stop feeling shameful about your consensual sexual choices. Enjoy masturbating? Great! Want to have sex with a same-gendered partner? Cool! Want to have a threesome – or a foursome? Want to abstain? Want to be non-monogamous? Want to watch porn? All of these things are fine if they work for you and your partner(s). As long as sex is always consensual and with others of legal age, you’re good to go.
2.Get educated. You’ll probably find that a lot of your ideas about sex and sexuality are based on the opinions of adults or leaders in your community. This is especially true if you feel a lot of guilt around your desires. Take time to learn about racism, sexism, feminism, ageism and capitalism, as well as the systems of control in place in your community, like government, religious and educational systems, and start to understand the forces at play in shaping your beliefs around sexuality. Then, you can start to figure out what you believe, rather than allowing your own ideas and opinions to be dictated by others.
3.Work out what gets you revved up – and realise that it’s not the same for everyone. Once you start opening your mind to the idea that different things get different people hot (including yourself), you’ll be in for a better sex life than ever before. Start to think about the things that turn you on. They may be pretty ‘standard’ – like having doggie-style sex or fantasising about threesomes – or they might be a bit edgier, like having a foot fetish, wanting to be whipped or wanting to be covered in hot wax.
Whatever it is, as long as you and your partner(s) are into it, it’s all good. Accept that whatever gets you hot, if it’s consensual, it’s okay and there’s nothing to feel guilty about. But you need to equally accept that what may seem strange or odd to you can be desirable to someone else, so don’t judge others on their unique kinks or fetishes.
4.Respect all your sexual partners, and yourself. This means that you should only ever have sex that is sober and consensual, and you must always protect yourself and your partners against the risk of HIV and STIs. Use protection every time you have sex, no matter what kind of sex you’re having, and always know your status. Having a complete picture of your sexual health and practicing safe, responsible behaviour is the foundation of sex positivity.
Get contraceptives, HIV and STI screening and more at Marie Stopes
Start the year off right: get tested and find the right contraceptives, then start enjoying an honest, healthy and open-minded sex life.