What is Sex-Positivity?
Sex-positivity is the belief that consensual sexual expression is both healthy and important in contributing to a safe and inclusive campus climate. Sex-positivity is grounded in comprehensive sex education, exploring and deconstructing gender norms, and promoting body-positivity and self-love. It fosters safe spaces in which different identities and sexual expressions are valued and bodily autonomy is paramount. Sex-positivity transforms our relationship with ourselves, each other, and our communities and can impact policy.
Consent is the expression of a mutual desire between parties to participate in a sexual activity. Sexual activity without consent is sexual violence. Period. Consent is fundamental in creating a sex-positive space. It is vitally important to respect other people’s consensual choices when it comes to their identity and body.
Consent can be withdrawn at any time and it is given without coercion. Someone saying “yes” because they are too afraid to say “no” is not what consent looks like. Someone changing their mind about a sexual desire and then being forced to engage in it anyway is not what consent looks like. Consent isn’t always spoken, but it should never be assumed. The absence of a “no” is not a “yes!”
Minors, people who are mentally incapacitated or unconscious, and people under the influence of drugs or alcohol are unable to give consent.
Sex-positivity celebrates healthy sexual relationships, diversity within those relationships, bodily autonomy, and empowering individuals to control their own sex life (or lack thereof). You define what is right for you – there is no “right” way to engage in sex and express your sexuality as long as everything involves consent, empowerment, and respect.
Breaking Down Gender Myths
Gender roles are the behavioral expectations placed on people in relation to the gender binary. It’s important to remember that gender is a social construct, and if someone doesn’t fit into the societal expectations for what their gender (or lack of gender) looks and acts like, that is perfectly okay! Critically examining gender roles and participating in behaviors and expressions that make you happy is extremely sex-positive! It is important not to put other people in boxes when it comes to sexual expression, and everyone should be able to express their gender in a way that empowers them.
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