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Sex Positivity and Why It's Important
Episode 220th July 2022 • Breaking Free Authentically: The Sex Positive Relationship Podcast • Karine Bedard
00:00:00 00:56:03

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Episode 2: Sex Positivity and Why It's Important


What is Sex Positivity?

  • Taking a look at an article written by Morgan Mandriota called “All About Sex Positivity”
  • It's well written and has some great explanations and resources
  • “My personal working definition of ‘sex positivity’ is operating around the topics of human sexuality, health, and pleasure with respect and without shame or stigma. This includes gender identity, orientation, sex education, nudity, relationship styles, body positivity, safer sex, reproductive equity, and much more,” says Goody Howard, a resident sex educator for sexual hygiene and body care company Royal.
  • “Historically, it was common for sex to be viewed from a moralistic (based in sin) or medicalized (based in sickness or disease) framework. Through these lenses, otherwise natural and healthy sexual desires and behaviors are something to be repressed, controlled, or cured,” explains sociologist and certified sexologist Sarah Melancon, PhD with The Sex Toy Collective.
  • How I viewed sex and sexuality

Why is Sex Positivity important?

  • A sex positive approach realizes the potential life enhancing aspects of human sexuality, and presents sexuality as something that can be valued and celebrated, thereby giving people permission to consider their own sexuality. It is important to note that sex positivity is not sex promotion.

Why should we become sex-positive?

What is Sex Negativity?

Sex negative examples

Sex negativity is everywhere, and it’s easy to internalize. But it’s important to notice when it pops up so you can stop it in its tracks.

How can you tell if you or someone you know is sex-negative? Obvious and subtle signs of sex negativity may include:

  • using STIs or sexualities as punchlines (think: asking if someone’s rash is herpes or calling someone “gay” as a joke)
  • assuming anything that’s not heteronormative is a sign of a mental health condition
  • believing anal sex is only for people who identify as gay
  • “slut shaming” women (or shaming anyone engaging in consensual sexual behavior)
  • victim-blaming for sexual assault
  • advocating for punishment or violence toward sex workers or LGBTQIA+ people
  • considering sex and sexuality to be “dirty,” “sinful,” or other negative adjectives
  • referring to heterosexuality and being cisgender as “normal,” “natural,” or “regular”
  • making negative comments about another person’s body, partner, style, or identity


How do you embrace sex positivity?

  • Another simple thing women can do to evolve their own sex positivity is to talk about it. Share your sex-positive outlook with others (when and where appropriate). Our community of #WiseWomen is helping to break the stigma of sexual discussion by making these conversations normal.

How to be sex positive:

*Value your sexuality

*Share and respect pronouns

*Question your reactions toward sex

If you notice your own sex negativity popping up when faced with another person’s sexuality or identity, Melancon recommends asking yourself the following questions:

  • What about their behavior is upsetting, and why?
  • What “kind” of person engages in this behavior or has these fantasies?
  • What would it mean about you if you enjoyed this sexual behavior?

“Often, we project our own insecurities and shame onto others, so judgment of others can actually be a window into our own deeper issues,” she adds.

*Advocate for sex-positive policies and organizations

*Learn more about sex positivity

Many resources exist to help you along your sex-positivity journey. Consider reading these sex-positive books:

*See a sex therapist

What are the benefits of sex positivity?

  • authenticity
  • better mental health
  • feeling empowered
  • no longer judging others
  • freedom
  • joy
  • the ability to be more honest in your relationships

Why is it harmful to not be sex-positive?

  • might not respect others and their choices
  • feelings of superiority
  • difficulty enjoying your sexuality
  • feeling stuck
  • difficulty talking about sex even to your partner
  • attaching shame and guilt

Research Links

Breaking Free Authentically: The Sex Positive Relationship Podcast website

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