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Enthusiasm For Sex Isn’t The Same As Sex-Positivity

We are a sex-positive blog, but we’ve never really discussed what that means. Charlie Glickman has a post on his (highly recommended) blog about the difference between sex-postivity and enthusiasm for sex. Excerpt:

In my view, the problem is that not enough people understand that sex-positivity isn’t the same thing as sexual enthusiasm. The fact that someone enjoys sex doesn’t necessarily mean that they can honor and celebrate sexual choices and practices that they don’t do. The fact that someone can be public about their sexuality doesn’t imply anything about their capacity to make room for sexual diversity and difference.

For me, sex-positivity means creating room for any kind of sexual fantasy and/or consensual sexual expression one might choose, as well as choosing to not have sex for any reason. There needs to be room for asexuality, celibacy, monogamy, polyamory, or anything else; for any consensual sexual activity; to decide to not engage in any sexual practice; and for that to change over time as people’s interests and capacities shift. There needs to be room to say no, as well as to say yes, not right now, another time, or anything else that one might wish to.

Anytime we talk about how sex is or how it “should” be, we ‘re reinforcing sexual shame. If you feel enthusiastic about sex, that’s great! Just don’t think that it makes you cooler, more enlightened, or better than someone who doesn’t. And anyway, there might come a time when you don’t feel enthusiastic about sex. That can be challenging enough without the judgment that it means that you’re not as evolved.

So if we truly want to change that, if we want to heal sexual shame within ourselves and in the world around us, we need to stop equating sexual enthusiasm with sex-positivity. Though they can go together, there are plenty of examples to show that they don’t have to.


About Jen

Have been a jack of all trades. I'm a former philosopher who specialized in ethics and political philosophy. I'm a sex positive feminist.

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