For so long, we’ve been told that sex is something to be ashamed of, especially as women. We’re supposed to feel guilty for liking it or talking about it, but if we do it too much, we’re promiscuous. It’s a cycle that I for sure am so sick of.
In comes sex positivity. Being sex positive doesn’t mean you have to be having sex. It’s about accepting and being open to other’s consensual sex lives. Cultivating a space of mutual respect and understanding when it comes to sex is invaluable in feeling more at ease with your own.
1. Educate yourself on experiences other than your own
Pat of sex positivity is understanding that sex is a human act, so take time to educate yourself on the experiences of those who don’t share the same preferences as you. Talk with people who are celibate, bisexual, transgender, straight, those who enjoy BDSM or fetishes, literally anyone with a different sexual experience than your own. Becoming aware of how other people enjoy and live sexually not only helps you to understand them, but it also brings you closer to your own sexuality.
2. Volunteer with women’s reproductive organizations
There is always a need for help at these spaces, and you can learn so much from the people around you. Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the National Women’s Health Network all take volunteers in different capacities. We all know how good it feels to make a difference in your community, but it’s even better when it impacts how you view other people.
3. Speak candidly with loved ones
I’m a big advocate for talking about sex. It’s fun, it’s educational, and it’s SO positive. Sometimes you just need a little sex talk sesh with your friends. Talking about sex with those around you directly goes against the ideas that we aren’t supposed to talk about something so uncomfortable and private. I’m here to say it’s totally okay to do so!
4. Don’t yuck someone else’s yum
Embrace the weird. If a partner or a friend describes something they’re interested in, and you’re well, not, that’s okay. We’re allowed to have different sexual preferences, and what turns someone on might not do the same to someone else. If it’s a partner, talk to them about why they’re interested in that and come up with a way to make both of you happy.
5. Talk about consent
Consent is a topic that can feel uncomfortable, but it’s important to bring up with everyone in your life. Your partner, your best friends, your male friends, your siblings, your parents — literally everyone can benefit from learning more about what consent means and what it is to you.
6. Stop apologizing
Never had sex? Woohoo! Can’t wait to get laid this weekend? YES! Stop apologizing for how you feel sexually. Yes, this is a human experience, but it is private, and it’s not something that needs to be discussed or “deliberated” on in any way. You’re allowed to feel whatever you want about sex, whether you’re into it or not.
Also, if you’re not in the mood — it’s okay! Don’t apologize.
7. Advocate for sexual education
We all have awkward memories from sex ed in high school, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Find out what the laws are in your state, call your legislators, talk to your local school board. Encourage those around you to do the same! Sex positive sex ed is all I could ever ask for for our next generation, and we have to be at the forefront to make sure it happens.
8. Stay body positive
Obviously, bodies and sex are a pretty necessary pair. If you want to feel positively about sex, it’s pretty imperative that you have at least somewhat of a positive view on your body. We get that it takes time to do that, so here are 14 ways you can improve your body image.
9. Stop slut shaming
I thought we all knew this by now, but I still see it CONSTANTLY. Slut shaming is the idea of criticizing women for behavior or clothing that is perceived as promiscuous. What exactly does talking poorly about another woman’s choices do for you? Absolutely nothing! Just stop it.
Don’t discuss what other people do in the bedroom! Again, this is private, and it doesn’t need to be discussed by others. If you are going to discuss a woman’s fashion, make sure to do it positively rather than singling her out.
10. Stay on top of your sexual health
Again, bodies are necessary for an enjoyable sexual experience! Make sure you do all the non-negotiables: always pee after sex, talk to your partners about STIs, and talk to your gyno if anything (seriously, anything) seems off.