Culture

7 Things Sex Positivity Is Not (Common Misconceptions)

By Jaclyn Kloss

People see sex positivity as so many different things...and that’s cool. Here are some things that sex positivity is definitely not. The general public’s stagnant understanding of the term - and the subconscious engagement with stereotypes - can be dangerous. Most importantly, it can be harmful to new relationships.

There are two basics we should cover. Sex positivity is about how sex (or not having sex) is a healthy part of life, a part that others should never judge. Secondly, it’s about accepting the sexual choices of others, no matter how far or close they are to your own. 

Here are things people think are sex positive...but absolutely are not.

1. The love of doin’ it

If sex positivity were as simple as enjoying the nasty, there would be hella sex positive people (and I likely wouldn’t be writing this!). It’s not that simple.

The main problem is that people judge others for the way they have sex. That shit's unacceptable.  

Also, sex-loving people can “convince” their dates to have sex with them. Sex-loving people can be both queer and transphobic. These types of sex-loving people clearly don’t believe in the fundamentals we just covered (seeing sex as healthy and accepting/respecting the sexual choices of others).


2. Thinking everyone should like sex because you do

Sex positivity is most definitely NOT thinking everyone should like sex. People have been hurt, they’ve been turned off, they’ve felt scared… whatever the reason may be, all of those reasons are valid. You don’t have to be able to relate - and you don’t get to judge. 


3. Having a simplified relationship with sex

The word positivity makes people think of an uncomplicated and easy relationship with sex. Sex positivity has nothing to do with this. Instead, it encompasses the many different ways we experience sex. Sex can be bland, painful, shocking, and so many other things. It should exist for everyone - asexual people, disabled people, rape survivors, and so on. It’s rare to have a simple relationship with one’s own sexuality. 

The cultural movement that is sex positivity exists because of the dark and complex experiences and sentiments felt by so many. 


4. Sexually objectifying others

Sex positivity is sometimes used as a means to objectify others. Personally, I can recall numerous occasions where a guy sloppily hitting on me transformed into him boasting about being a sex positive man. Dude. Sex positivity is not treating people like things! 

You are never being sex positive if you project your desires onto other people.


5. Thinking certain sexual behaviours are better than others

People will choose to be swingers, they will choose to enjoy BDSM or other non-conservative approaches to sex, and we must be okay with this. More ideally, we’d be supportive of this.

If those same people ridicule monogamous relationships or more conservative choices, they are not being sex positive.


6. Being open with your sexual experiences 

Many who identify as sex positive are passionate about their cause, and that’s great. What’s not great is if their self-expression causes others discomfort. 

People want to reduce the stigma around sexual topics, but openly talking about your sexuality or sex life around someone who’s visibly uncomfortable is not the way. If a pal asks, then lay it down. Otherwise, they likely don’t want to hear it.


7. Having no boundaries

People think that having sexual boundaries means they’re not sex positive. Wrong. Knowing your boundaries and talking about them (or trying to!) is very sex positive. 

The most sexual and bold people have boundaries, they’re simply unaware of them. The fun-loving statement “I’m up for anything!” has never been a literal one.

We need to accept and value sexuality without pain and shame, and all the other terrible things that come so naturally to us. After all, this need is how the sex positive cultural movement came to be. 


Whether you consider yourself sex positive or not, be aware and informed of the misleading and potentially harmful things sex positivity is not so you can explore all the great things it is.

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