Sex is a topic that people tend to shy away from talking about. For whatever reason, society stigmatizes people publicly talking about something that many people do.
This negativity towards sex is detrimental to us as a community. It affects the way we feel about our bodies, how we treat consent and how we go about treating things such as sexually transmitted diseases. Sex positivity is all about challenging the stigma around sex and finding ways to healthily express safe, consensual sex.
I think we can all agree that the sex education system is not the best it could be. Most programs are centered around abstinence, the avoidance of sexual intercourse. In many cases, these programs emphasize the failure rates of contraception to make teenagers afraid of sex, but abstinence is not a realistic form of contraception for teenagers. Pushing abstinence only takes away the resources for safe sex, and it’ll cause teens to practice unprotected sex. Educators avoid teaching teens how their body works while it is growing and treating puberty as taboo. This causes teens to be ashamed of their bodies and lead them to explore themselves in an unsafe way.
New programs are surfacing that intend to teach children of all ages about their growing bodies, puberty and sex all in a healthy, age-appropriate manner. These new programs are meant to help children and teens understand their bodies as they go through changes, give them the proper resources to practice safe sex and find treatment in certain cases. This easy access to things like condoms and birth control opens a new world for teenagers and young adults to explore their sexuality in a healthy way. It is necessary if we want to cut down on the spread of STD’s and teenage pregnancy.
One of the most important aspects here is teaching consent to teenagers and children. Implementing the idea of consent from a young age can save people’s lives. Sexual assault is happening everywhere; one in five women will be raped at some point in their life, and giving early access to education about consensual sex can change that. This can help victims around the world seek help and decrease the number of assaults happening right now.
Sex work is also included in sex positivity. This industry is often times unsafe for workers. Conditions are rough, the pay is low and workers can be seriously injured by their clients. Adding new sex-positive laws will protect workers in this industry and make it easier for them to make a safe living. Sex work is also stigmatized as being unclean and trashy. In most cases, this could not be less true. These workers are real people who are just trying to pay their bills, and they would like to be clean just as much as the client would. One of the goals of sex positivity is to end the negative attitude towards sex work and make the industry safer for both workers and clients.
While it is important to be able to openly talk about sex and sex practices, sex positivity is also about being understanding of everyone’s own individual circumstances. Not everyone will be able to have a healthy relationship with sex because of personal reasons, and that needs to be respected. Sex positivity is not just an open free-for-all to talk about sex openly and graphically in public. It is a movement made to make us more comfortable with the idea of sex and celebrate healthy, consensual sexual relationships. Sex should be an enjoyable experience for all who want to engage in it. Sex positivity helps make that a reality.
The sex positivity movement can change the world. It will make us more comfortable in our own bodies, make sex practices safer, lower STD and teenage pregnancy rates and save victims of sexual assault. Even the smallest changes in a society can make the biggest difference to the people in it.