The world we live in can be very negative when it comes to issues of sex, gender, pleasure, desire, love, lust, and the human body. All this negativity can have long-lasting effects on us, making it difficult for us to enjoy sexual pleasure or feel comfortable talking about our bodies.
What is Sex Positivity?
While the definitions of this new “movement” are still sussing themselves out, there are some very basic aspects to being sex positive in your day to day life. Namely is the belief that love, sex, gender, pleasure and desire are complicated concepts that go beyond the either/or binary thinking we have been taught. Love/hate, virgin/whore, man/woman, pleasure/pain, nympho/frigid – these binary concepts are social constructs that can’t possibly, in their simplicity, encompass the vast ocean of human experience. Can you open your mind to this idea? Trust me, it will be worth the effort…
Does Sex Positive Mean Better Sex?
I certainly think so! What would you enjoy more – doing something that makes you feel loving and loved, open and honest, comfortable and sensual, ecstatic and full of bliss… or something that makes you feel awkward and uncomfortable, unsure of yourself, ashamed of your body, judged and unsuccessful in life? I would certainly choose the first, wouldn’t you?
Sex positivity is all about getting comfortable with talking about sex, giving and receiving pleasure, and understanding desire, gaining confidence, releasing judgment and shame, and claiming your right to share love!
Each of the following three aspects build on each other to help define sex positivity for the struggling couple:
Shame and Blame
Shame is a major factor in most people’s experiences of sexuality. This can cause people to react in many different and often harmful ways for those who aren’t willing or able to shed shameful feelings and heal from past judgments. While we often think of shame as something forced on women, men are equally shamed in a culture that accords their worth with sexual performance, and blames them for failing to provide women with enough orgasms.
In a sex positive culture, no one is “to blame” when it comes to enjoying the best sex possible, but everyone is responsible for making sex great. Sex gets to be a collaboration and a work of art instead of a battle of the sexes. If something doesn’t work out… it’s simply a great excuse to try something different the next time!
It comes down to this: if consent is enthusiastic, no one is being harmed, everyone is informed and aware of any risks…. “all is fair in love” as they say. We are all different. You may not be interested in every kinky thing your lover finds intriguing, and vice versa. You may find in time that your curiosities change, or you may not. You don’t have to agree on every single turn on there is – you don’t have to think that her favorite movie star is sexy for his latest movie to give you both a boost in the bedroom, do you?
The ways in which you and your lover participate in each others’ sexual interests will vary. The important this is not to judge your lover’s desires or tell her that something she thinks or feels is right or wrong. She should commit to the same. If you love each other, you can accept each others sexual desires for what they are, without objectifying, manipulating, shaming or policing.
The idea that there is a Universal Man and Universal Woman who can define what “manliness” and “womanliness” are ignores the incredible complexity of human life! We can look at averages, statistics, folk tales and cultural knowledge about gender roles, but what seems overwhelmingly true is that gender is what we make of it.
If your lover ever tells you to “man up” or “be a man” or that she needs “a real man” you should delve deeper into what these phrases means for both of you. What does manliness entail and why does it attract her – assertiveness, aggressiveness, strength, presence, confidence, virility, power, control? These things aren’t attributes held only by men, and your wife knows this. Find out what she really desires in a lover by opening up the conversation about sex positivity…. and enjoy the ride!