Sex Positivity: What It Is and How You Can Practice It

Sexuality, a fundamental aspect of human existence, has long been shrouded in stigma, shame, and judgment. Fortunately, the sex-positivity movement seeks to dismantle these barriers, promoting a healthier, more open approach to sex and sexuality. Let’s delve into what sex positivity truly means and how it impacts our lives.

Defining Sex Positivity

Sex positivity is an attitude that celebrates sexual diversity, pleasure, and liberation. It encourages us to explore our desires, communicate openly, and embrace our bodies without shame or stigma.

The sex-positive movement is a social and philosophical movement that seeks to change cultural attitudes and norms around sexuality, promoting the recognition of sexuality (in the countless forms of expression) as a natural and healthy part of the human experience and emphasizing the importance of personal sovereignty, safer sex practices, and consensual sex (free from violence or coercion).

Breaking Free from Historical Constraints

Historically, sex was often viewed through two limiting lenses: moralistic (based on sin) or medicalized (based on sickness or disease). These perspectives stifled natural and healthy sexual desires, treating them as something to be repressed, controlled, or cured. Enter sex positivity—a paradigm shift that challenges these harmful views.

The Origins of Sex Positivity

The term “sex-positive” gained prominence in the late 1990s as a more culturally responsive framework than the earlier “free love” movement of the 1960s. Rooted in feminism, sex positivity aims to:

  1. Empower Women and All Genders: By encouraging healthy sexual expression and relationships, sex positivity counters patriarchal influences.
  2. Embrace Sexual Diversity: It recognizes that sexuality exists in countless forms of expression, respecting gender identity, orientation, and relationship styles.
  3. Promote Safer Sex Practices: Sex positivity emphasizes personal sovereignty and informed choices.
Two women lay in bed beside each other in their underwear and looking into each others' eyes. They are laying on a sheet that has a small floral pattern on it.

Examples of Sex Positivity

Sex positivity manifests in various ways:

  1. Fantasy Exploration: Acknowledging and exploring our sexual fantasies without judgment.
  2. Body Positivity: Developing a positive relationship with our bodies and accepting their natural variations.
  3. Communication: Openly discussing sexual wants and needs with partners.
  4. Setting Boundaries: Advocating for healthy sexual boundaries, both with ourselves and others.
  5. Supporting Comprehensive Sex Education: Backing laws and norms that ensure consensual sexual freedom.

The Battle Against Sex Negativity

Sex negativity permeates society, often internalized through abstinence-based sex education, religious teachings, and media portrayals. It stifles sexual expression, perpetuates shame, and harms mental well-being. Sex positivity stands as a powerful antidote.

A couple are pictured from the waist up facing each other and smiling. The man is bare chested while the woman is in her underwear. In her hand she is holding a small red rubber toy.

Being Sex Positive

How can we cultivate a sex-positive mindset?

  1. Educate Ourselves: Learn about sexual health, consent, and pleasure.
  2. Challenge Stigmas: Reject harmful narratives and embrace sexual diversity.
  3. Advocate for Change: Support policies that promote sexual freedom and comprehensive sex education.

Sex positivity invites us to celebrate our bodies, desires, and connections. By fostering openness, understanding, and acceptance, we can create a world where sexual well-being thrives. So let’s shed the shame, embrace pleasure, and champion a sex-positive future—one that honors our humanity in all its beautiful forms.


This article was compiled by our resident expert and scientist, Ami Reid, CEO of The Quiet Achiever. The Quiet Achiever is New Zealand's only women owned and operated sexual wellness store that sells only 100% body-safe toys and tools to women and couples. You can shop their products or learn more here or by following the link below:

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