If you’ve heard the term “sex positive” you may have found yourself quickly trying to figure out what the term even means. In fact, a frantic search for “sex positive meaning” may just be how you found this article. Sex positivity is simply a more accepting stance on sex in all areas of your life.
Many of us are raised with little understanding of sexuality. And unfortunately, this more than often results in less than positive sexual relationships when we’re first getting in touch with ourselves. The sex positive movement takes this idea and works to correct it. Through the sex positive movement, we work to:
- Identify places where we were shamed with sex.
- Learn more about what we don’t know.
- Approach with curiosity, not fear.
Let’s get practical and see what this means for you in your own life.
Sex Positive Clothes
Whether you were someone shamed for clothes that were too tight, too loose, or too raunchy, few women haven’t had the experience of being given feedback about what they’re wearing. And much of it was related to sex. Women’s bodies have been criticized under the male gaze for eons. Many have been told to cover up cleavage as they’ve also been told to show more of it. It’s a confusing world of feedback, and it’s easy to get lost. And while admiration is nice, it should be consensual. Your body and how it looks in clothes should be in your control.
Clothes are both practical and places for creative expression, a way to really enhance your sexual confidence. Clothes that truly serve your body are sex positive, meaning they make you feel good. Your clothes should feel good on the skin. And some of that may mean taking into account the weather or where you are. It may be cold, and you want something cozy. Conversely, you may want to take on the discomfort of stilettos for the chance to dance at a club. Whether it’s a neon floral print or a leather bustier, they should make you feel best.
As you grow your understanding of sex positive clothing, think:
- Do I like how I feel sexually in these clothes?
- Do I like how others would perceive me sexually in these clothes?
- Do my clothes serve the purpose they need to?
- How do I like clothes to feel on my body?
And adjust your wardrobe and attire accordingly with sex positivity at the forefront.
Sex Positive Hair and Makeup
The shame that women have incurred for their sexuality doesn’t just mean what they wear. The entire beauty industry is tough to navigate for someone who is sex positive, meaning they make it challenging for us to really learn to love ourselves. From an early age, women are blitzed with commercials of pimple cream and spray tanner. As we age, we learn about the horrors of grey hair and wrinkles. True sex positive feminism means rejecting any preconceived ideas of what makes you feel desirable. And depending on who you are, that may or may not mean ditching the lip plumper.
Whereas clothes serve a practical purpose, our hair and makeup are much more of an outlet for our own expression. Part of the sex positive movement means letting go of that being just for someone else.
Let yourself enjoy the process of doing your hair and makeup in a way that feels good. Experiment with hairstyles or hair colors if it feels right. When doing makeup, highlight or contour depending on what you want to be accentuated, not based on what others think needs to be erased.
As you grow your understanding of sex-positive hair and makeup, think:
- Do I enjoy the way my hair and makeup look?
- Do I like how others perceive my hair and makeup?
- Do I enjoy the process of doing my hair and makeup?
- How do I feel when I do different types of hair and makeup?
And work to embody your newfound sex positivity through this.
Sex Positive Intelligence
You don’t have to look deep online to find jokes about women and their intelligence. In fact, a large reason for the disproportional pay gap in employment and the underlying belief that women “belong in the kitchen” comes from some problematic issues about women being ill-suited for more challenging, cerebral work. Worse yet, women can get shamed for being both too dumb or too smart, depending on the environment. Some men are intimidated by clever women in power.
When we break it down, women and men do not show any difference in intelligence. In fact, much of intelligence is knowledge. And we know that knowledge can evolve and shift over time. If you get a new job, you’ll learn a new skill or new ideas. When you meet a new friend or read a book that challenges your worldview, your brain literally grows to meet the demand for more information. Intelligence isn’t a stagnant concept in our life. We grow wiser as we age through our experiences, regardless of our gender. It’s important that we turn toward our intelligence by being sex positive, meaning we don’t consider ourselves limited intellectually by our sexuality.
As you grow your understanding of sex-positive clothing, hair and makeup, and overall intelligence surrounding work and life, think:
- Do I have the knowledge and skills I need in my life?
- Do my knowledge and skills help others?
- Do I enjoy learning?
- Do I shift my understanding of my own intelligence based on how others perceive me? If so, how does it make me feel?
And try to ensure that your relationship is one that caters well to intellectual intimacy.
Sex Positive Mannerisms
How our body interacts with the world can cause others discomfort. Sitting down and spreading your legs may have given you negative feedback in the past. We’re told as women to perform as the weaker species. Sometimes our bodies are advised to take up less space. In fact, while this hasn’t been researched for causation, 80% of osteoporosis sufferers are women. Are we literally shrinking ourselves to make our worlds safer?
The way your body moves through the world is both relevant for how you feel and to communicate. Our body language is constantly sending out cues to the rest of the world that tell them who we are and how we want to be treated. Many people communicate by moving their hands or gesturing. Our mannerisms are a way for us to become sex positive, meaning if we hide who we are by minimizing our bodies, we aren’t really embracing our sexuality. Let your body be seen and move in the world in a way that feels good.
As you grow your understanding of sex-positive mannerisms, think:
- Do I like the way my body feels in space?
- Do I like the way others understand what my body is saying?
- Do I enjoy communicating with my body?
- How am I shifting the way my body communicates in different situations?
Sex Positive… Sex!
You might think that “sex” is naturally sex-positive in nature, but that is simply not the case. Many of us aren’t raised to understand our own bodies, let alone seek positive sexual relationships. By putting a woman’s sexuality on a pedestal, society has told us to limit thinking about sex, talking about sex, and even participating in sex. We’ve been fed a delusional narrative that our sexuality isn’t for us to enjoy. Even those knee-deep in the sex positive feminism movement may still struggle to enjoy their bodies.
When we strip the word of shame, sex is a way for our bodies to reproduce and to connect with others. Sharing sex with someone is a way of enjoying what your body, and theirs, have to offer. Bodies often feel good when touched. To truly be sex positive, meaning to turn towards sex fully, we need to admit that it feels good to be touched. We need to allow ourselves to stay present in the positive sexual relationships we deserve. We need to check in with our bodies and celebrate our sexuality- from the orgasms to the queefs.
As you grow your understanding of sex-positive sex, think:
- Do I enjoy my body while having sex?
- Do I enjoy others’ bodies while having sex?
- Am I able to clearly explain to my partner what feels good in clear terms?
- Do I feel confident to share when things don’t feel great?
- How do I like being cared for sexually?