Just because you like something sexually doesn’t always mean it’s good for you. Being sex positive is about enjoying the pleasure our bodies are capable of, sure. But it’s also about self-exploration and development and discovery. The point here is to figure out what’s positive for you. Having sex – even the safe, sane, consensual kind – is not positive if it causes you pain.
A body is a beautiful thing – and worth getting to know
One of the best things to come out of the sex-positive movement is the desire to give people – all people – the space to discover themselves as sexual beings without shame or judgment. That doesn’t mean that the whole world has caught up but, in sex positive circles, you will meet a lot of people who embrace their bodies and the pleasure they can bring.
In a society that often teaches us to aspire to unattainable beauty standards, loving your body as it is truly has become a revolutionary act. That said, for many of us, it’s a daily journey. Maybe you have to fake it until you make but rest assured, your thoughts are powerful. Focus on the things you like about yourself. Be kind to yourself when you slip back to hating on your wide hips or your stretch marks. Surround yourself with things that champion body positivity and surround yourself with positive people who accept you as you are. Finally, start looking at your body for what it can do, rather than just how it looks. For many people, that means exploring their sexuality and pleasure through masturbation.
Consent is sexy (but it isn’t simple)
Don’t have sex with people who don’t want to have sex with you. Simple, right? Maybe. But the details aren't - there isn’t a lot of debate and discussion about this in the sex positive community for nothing. It’s just like a cup of tea! Or … not. Yes means yes! Or does that oversimplify things?
What we know for sure is that consent is important. But, just like everything else in interpersonal relationships, figuring out all the details can be tricky sometimes. Start by setting and respecting boundaries in your relationships long before you hit the bedroom. Watch not just what partners say, but also their body language and how they behave. Ask your partners open-ended questions about what they’re liking and how you’re doing when you’re having sex. In return, be open and honest with your partners about what you like, what you're feeling and when you want to stop.
So is communication
Sex positive people learn how to tell their partners what they want. And that is one of the most powerful drivers for a super-hot, super-satisfying sex life. Talking about sex can be hard, but sex positive people know that it gets easier when you try – and when you learn the skills that come with doing it appropriately, kindly and respectfully.
It’s a work in progress – so start talking! Be honest, be open and be willing to share your fantasies. Just start talking. It will get easier.
Real sex is messy – and beautiful
It’s easy to bring a lot of baggage into our sex lives. We might have preconceptions about what sex should be about, or hold unrealistic expectations of what sex should be like. Sex-positive people learn that because sex happens between two (or more!) totally unique individuals, it’s pretty hard to hold it to any specific standard. And that’s a beautiful thing! Real sex isn’t like in the movies. It can be awkward. It’s often messy. It happens between all different kinds of people with all different kinds of bodies who like all different kinds of things. That’s what makes it so interesting!
Let go of your ideas of what sex should be and embrace it in the moment for what it is. Indulge in your fantasies and encourage your partners to do the same. Experiment with sex toys or BDSM or whatever makes you shiver. Focus on sensation and pleasure rather than appearances. Oh, and keep learning about sex in all its fascinating, glorious and messy forms.