Maybe you’ve heard the term "sex positive," maybe you haven’t. If you haven’t, you probably have at least some positive feelings about sex on a personal level. Because sex feels good, right? Unfortunately, society at large doesn’t always portray sex in such a positive (or simple) light. Whether we’re hearing about how much sex teens are (and, as is often implied, shouldn’t be) having, or about the threat of sexually transmitted diseases, or even about how so-and-so slept with what’s-his-name (and we all know what that says about her), most of the messages we get about sex really aren't very positive. At all.

But what if we chose to look at sex in a different way? Not as something our parents told us not to do. Or something we feel we should be doing a certain way (or with a certain person). And certainly not as something to be afraid or ashamed of. That's what the sex positive movement is all about. It aims to heave all that personal and cultural baggage about sex overboard and look at sex and sexuality as a positive force. As something that feels good. As a part of being human. As something that should be embraced.

Exactly how you do that means different things to different people. So, we decided to poll some of the most sex-positive people we know: the attendees of CatalystCon East 2014. Here’s what they said "sex positive" means to them.

"Helping people open up their own minds to their sexual exploration and creating an environment where people feel free explore their sexual beings, their sexual desires and sexual expression."


"Freedom for self-definition of one’s sexuality, informed consent, communication, and no shaming!!"


"Radical acceptance and nurturing of all sexual expressions in informed, healthy contexts."


"Endorsing the importance and beauty of sexuality while acknowledging the limitations of one's own personal experiences with it."


"For me, being sex positive isn’t about what I do sexually, it’s about respecting others’ rights to do what they want to do. It’s not about being open to do anything or everything. You can be sex positive and asexual or celibate. You can be a kinky poly sex fanatic and not be sex positive."

-Mona Darling,

"To me being sex positive means embracing your sexuality/sexual orientation/sexual identity and that of others without judgement. It means being open, accepting and understanding of the way others choose to live their sexual lives even when it doesn't mirror the way you live your own."


"To accept others exactly as they are, sexually, with no judgment, ridicule or discrimination … that is sex-positive. That involves letting go of preconceived notions of conformity, religious dogma and so many 'shoulds’ that are present in society today. Acceptance and lack of judgment are powerful tools in the quest for a sex-positive world. They are building blocks that will help to erase shame from the sexual conversation."

-Ruby Ryder,

"For me, being sex positive means accepting and embracing sexuality as an important part of who we are, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or otherwise. It means maintaining a non-judgmental attitude toward sex, others people's choices/decisions, and actively choosing to engage in activities that are consensual and healthy for everyone involved. It’s about respecting the decisions and perspectives a person may have, while also educating them so that they feel comfortable within their bodies and as sexual beings. It’s about encouraging love-based decisions rather than fear-based ones."

-Kara Sutra,

"Sex-positivity is an evolving, morphing concept (and social movement in many cases) where people are trying to destigmatize sexual desires, activities and proclivities. Being sex-positive doesn’t mean you have to be kinky, wild or have loads of sex (many asexual people identify as sex-positive), but it often means that you talk a lot about sex and the important social, emotional and physical effects this act can have on you personally and society as a whole. There is no one way to be "sex-positive" but all ways emphasize the importance of consent, respect for others, and open, honest communication."

-Queerie Bradshaw,

Do you have something to add? Tell us what sex positive means to you in the comments. Or, Tweet us using the hashtag #definesexpositive.

Want to be more sex positive yourself? Check out 5 Ways to Become More Sex Positive - And Have Better Sex!