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Be a Force for Good: Be Openly Sex-Positive

sex positive
Kevin here. . .

Many years ago, I attended a talk given by the Porn Star and Sex Worker turned PhD Sexologist, Annie Sprinkle, one of the first sex-positive pioneers. I was smitten. Not by Annie’s body (she isn’t my type) nor by her specific sexual interests (which don’t float my boat) but by her amazing attitude toward sex.

She saw sex as a positive force in this world and supported it in all its myriad manifestations. She was very emphatic about this. Heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual—she supported it all! Monogamous, polygamous, or any other combination—she was for it! Fetishes, BDSM, kink, and unusual sexual interests—why not? She saw all sex, with the exception of abusive exploitation, as a healing force for good. And so do I.

Injuries from sex shaming

So many people have been injured by negative, censorious attitudes toward sex. The silence that shrouds much of sex is in itself injurious. The message is that sex should never be spoken of—it’s a dirty little secret. And these injuries have been passed on from generation to generation.

While well-meaning educators have tried to introduce a modicum of sanity through sex education, many have been silenced by reactionary and religious forces. Only 24 states in the U.S. mandate sex education. And, our federal government is once again pushing “abstinence-only sex education”! A Chicago high school drastically cut teen pregnancy with sex education and an on-campus contraceptive clinic. When the results were presented to the school board, rather than extending the program, they axed it. All this when it’s well known that countries that are more sex-positive tend to have fewer teen pregnancies, lower rates of STDs, and fewer abortions.

The shaming begins early in childhood, accelerates during adolescence, and continues on through old age. Many religions preach that sex be allowed only between married, heterosexual couples. Singles, homosexuals, unmarried couples, whether young adults, middle age, or old folks. . .all the unmarried are out of luck! As for the elderly, our culture teaches that senior sex is either non-existent or disgusting. Old people having sex is the butt of many, not-so-funny jokes and cartoons—I’m sure you’ve seen them. There is so little encouragement, so little compassion, and so many negative expectations about sexuality as we grow older, which is why Vicki and I are here, tooting the horn of Sex after 60.

Loving sex. . . a force for good

Study after study shows that loving sex is a positive force in our lives.  Clear and simple: Being sexually fulfilled makes us healthier, happier people. It may be that sensual intimacy is the natural elixir for the ills that plague us in old age.

Loving sex is a force for good that contributes to our physical and mental health by relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and improving our sleep. It makes us more loving, strengthens our connections, and makes us better people in so many ways. We become kinder and less judgmental. As we grow older, it softens the reality of our aging bodies and inevitable demise.

As we age, we learn that love and connection are what we need, not more shiny things. Luckily, we seem to get better and better at making those intimate connections the older we get. And, we are certainly not impressed by those who deny us our sexual birthright. Imagine what the world would be like if all of us were sexually fulfilled!

Say Yes to sex-positive

So old and young folks, I say to you, adopt a sex-positive attitude. Support sexuality in all its protean manifestations. Speak up for the sexual rights of all of us. Don’t let the regressive forces be the only ones heard.

In your personal life, make your sex-positive beliefs clear. Some special someone who shares your feelings and who is looking for a partner may be listening. Young people who hear your message may be comforted to know they won’t be condemned to celibacy when they grow old. And if you are brave, face those who would silence you in public spaces. Let the world know that being sex-positive is one of the kindest, most humane ways we can treat ourselves and each other.

Vicki here. . .

The sex-positive movement began in the 1970s, motivated by the existing sexual repression and led by feminists, pro-sex advocates, porn stars, and sex workers. Yet sex negativity still condemns women today, based on just about everything: race, age, class, and cultural background. And because women still have to fight to control their reproductive rights, and because sexual assault and victim-blaming persist regularly, the sex-positive movement continues to be essential in a society that proposes to respect diversity.

Sex-positivity asserts that all consensual sexual activity is fundamentally healthy and good.  It is about accepting and honoring your own sexual expression as well as accepting the rights of others to be who they are. Implicit in this is a healthy self-knowledge of your own sexuality—your desires, needs, drive, limits, hang-ups, fears, and pleasure centers—and a willingness to honor those.

A recent spin on being sex-positive suggests we’re all supposed to be having great sex, and if you’re not, something is wrong with you. While it’s true that sex improves our emotional and physical health and loving sex brings us pleasure and intimacy, how much sex you have, and what you do and with whom (if anyone), is your business. The point of being sex-positivity is to appreciate sex as a healthy human need, without the judgment, guilt, shame, and punishment our society throws at it.

As long as those involved are consenting adults, sex is to be celebrated.

Here are some definitions of a sex-positive attitude:
  1. You own that you are a sexual being and honor your needs and desires. You take responsibility for your own happiness. 
  2. You support others’ rights to be sexual, however different they are from you. This tolerance is open-hearted, meaning you are compassionate of others’ differences.
  3. You accept that sex is a natural desire and drive, that beyond procreation it is designed to give us pleasure and good health.
  4. You educate yourself about both male and female sexual anatomy and take precautions to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  5. You support sex education for both young and old.
  6. You accept sexual and gender orientations different than your own—gay, gender neutral, heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, queer, transgender. Buck Angel, a filmmaker and advocate for transgender rights, puts it this way: “It’s not what’s between your legs that defines you.”
  7. You do not shame other people’s partners or sexual practices, such as porn, BDSM, kink, fetishes, or lifestyle choices, such as monogamy, non-monogamy, polyamory. You do not participate in “slut-shaming.”
The reality of being honest about sex-positivity

Changing our core beliefs about sex can be challenging, especially if you grew up 50 to 60 years ago as Kevin and I did. Certainly, our choices of sex role stereotypes and sexual activity were far fewer than they are today. So it’s not surprising that having a sex-positive attitude at this late date can be intimidating.

Not only that, but we live in a sexually repressed, touch-phobic society where even teachers are not allowed to touch students—despite our easy-access to everything sexual due to its commercialization. We become uncomfortable when people start talking about sex because of the disconnect between the reality of our sexual life and what we really desire. The more uncomfortable, the larger the disconnect, ergo the unhappier we are.

Our lack of intimacy and sexual desire has been normalized, so we can easily dismiss their importance with countless socially acceptable rationalizations—work pressure, kids at home, empty nest, stressed out, uptight upbringing, religious beliefs, too tired, hungry, emotional stress, physical illness, body pain, headache, bad mood, bad day, the climate, politics, past trauma, not enough time, and just don’t feel like it today—the list is endless. It’s no surprise that Americans are less sexually satisfied than most other Western nations.

And, it’s not your fault. Our society is not set up for us to be sexually satisfied. Rather, it is set up to sell things that promise that. By making sex a commodity, the innate pleasure of human touch and the joy of playful sex are lost in the sales pitch.

But the good news is that sex-positive is a frame of mind you can choose. It’s not the 1950s anymore, and our parents were mostly confused about sex anyway, so it’s time to reprogram and reboot. Like anything else worth doing, broadening your sexual expression and accepting others’ differences takes time and practice.

It’s all about knowing yourself and honest communication

So if you’re not there yet, be patient with yourself. Begin by honestly exploring your own sexual desires—some may surprise you, others may threaten the status quo. But being sex-positive begins by honestly accepting what’s true for you, right now in present time. It’s all about discovering what you want and communicating that to your lover, if you have one. We must each take responsibility for our sexual happiness, whether or not we have a partner.

When there are differences in desire and sexual activity between you and your beloved, consider them an opportunity for relationship growth, and start communicating. Don’t be put off if the discussion doesn’t go well at first–there is a learning curve to speaking honestly about sex.  Keep the conversation going and the intimacy will grow into arousal.

Our desire for you is to accept and embrace your sexuality as well as the preferences of those around you. We encourage you to talk openly about sex first with your partner, then with your adult children about the messages regarding sexuality they send to your grandchildren.

Do you have suggestions on how we can make society more accepting of sex-positive lifestyles? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Image Source: Unknown

 

9 Comments

  1. John January 14, 2019 at 3:38 am - Reply

    Wonderfully expressed about how I feel about bringing sex out of the closet and embracing it. Thanks Kevin and
    Vicki!

    • Kevin January 18, 2019 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Glad to hear you are on board John. The good news is that we sex positive warriors have nature on our side!

  2. Anonymous January 18, 2019 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Excellent article! We will be linking to this great article
    on our site. Keep up the great writing.

    • Victoria January 18, 2019 at 9:28 am - Reply

      Thank you! Gotta get the word out that our last years can be delicious, full of love, intimacy and deep connection. . .

  3. Cafe Rule January 20, 2019 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    I don’t even know how I stopped here, however this is a great site! I don’t know who you are but certainly
    you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already.
    Cheers!

    • Kevin Chesebro January 21, 2019 at 8:13 am - Reply

      Thanks so much Cafe Rule. Your comment has made my day! We are trying to do our part to spread the word that healthy sexual intimacy can make our world a happier and more sane place.

  4. Lan January 21, 2019 at 12:13 am - Reply

    Great discussion! Appreciate you explaining what sex positive is.

  5. sbo 16 January 21, 2019 at 12:42 am - Reply

    I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your
    blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the great
    quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

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2019-01-31T08:10:29+00:00