What is Sex Positivity?

Like many terms (i.e. feminism, spirituality, academics, philosophy, etc.), sex-positivity can be defined in different ways by different people and organizations. However, I will try to explain the basis of how we generally use this term within the mental health profession and fields of sexology.

The following definitions provide framing to the term:

“…the cultural philosophy that understands sexuality as a potentially positive force in one’s life, and it can, of course, be contrasted with sex-negativity, which sees sex as problematic, disruptive, dangerous. Sex-positivity allows for and in fact celebrates sexual diversity, differing desires and relationships structures, and individual choices based on consent.” -Carol Queen, UO Class of 1985, Phi Beta Kappa, founding director of the Center for Sex and Culture

“Sex positivity is the concept that the appropriate uses of sex extend beyond reproduction to enhancing pleasure, interpersonal relationships, spiritual growth, and emotional and physical health. In a sex positive world, everyone would be free to find a sex life that delights and empowers them.” -The Foundation and Center for Sex Positive Culture

“Sex positivity strives to counter the fears, secrecy, misinformation, judgment, and general negativity that currently surround sexuality. It emphasizes medically accurate sex education and safer sex. It makes no moral judgments about what forms sexuality does or does not take. Sex positivity refers to a way of thinking that embraces and promotes all forms of sexuality and consensual sexual experience, placing these values on equal footing with the choice not to engage in sexual activity.”

–University of Oregon Health Center

Most people, cultures, religions and family systems hold both sex-positive and sex-negative positions, biases and beliefs. There are some beautiful sex-positive concepts that can be found in a variety of systems... such as...

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