"Both of us say there are laws to obey. But frankly, I don't like your tone. You want to change the way I make love. I want to leave it alone." -- Leonard Cohen
What does it mean to be sex positive?
Seeing more and more people openly express the vibrant, healthy, holy, liberatory potential of sexuality is a beautiful thing.
But from lube shaming and to descriptions and proscriptions and prescriptions of right and wrong ways to experience orgasms to the erasure and/or objectification of the bodies and sexualities experiences of Queer people, Trans people, fat people, disabled people, and People of Color to the lack of understanding of how the sensory experiences of neurodivergent people and trauma survivors shape their sexual experiences, a lot of what passes for sex positivity in contemporary culture too often excludes a lot of people's experiences of sex.
So, I want to spell out what I mean when I talk about being a sex positive herbalist, a sex positive priest, a sex positive person:
I am sex positive even when I struggle with shame and fear about my own sexuality. Even when shame makes it difficult for me to engage or express my own desire. Even when fear makes me too dissociated to be able to connect with a lover. Just as much as when I am feeling as free and embodied and lusty as a rutting stag. All of these have been common experiences at different points in my life. All of them are part of my experience now. Sometimes I experience all of them at once. I am sex positive because I believe in being present to my body's authentic responses and sensations and desires and emotions however they show up.
I am sex positive when I encourage other people to allow themselves to play with and explore their own bodies. And when I celebrate the pleasure they share with each other. And when I encourage them to be honor their own boundaries, their own hesitation, to be still and slow and present with all of their parts as they come into different states of embodiment and different intensities and flavors of sexual desire and sexual aversion.
I am sex positive when I say that there are no right or wrong ways for people to have or not have sex, to have or not have orgasms, to ejaculate or not ejaculate, to stretch their own boundaries or honor their own need safety, to run power through their bodies alone or with other people, to play with flows of power and pleasure between people, to explore sensation so long as they are grounded in authenticity, respect, and consent. No such thing as too much or too little sex as long as a person's relationship with their sexuality helps them engage their vitality. No profane sex except that which violates someone's sense of integrity.
As Doreen Valiente wrote in "The Charge of the Goddess," "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals."
And it is my goal to liberate my own love and pleasure, and be an ally in others' liberation.
That is what sex positivity means to me.