Words by: Alice Wright Art by: Lillian Busby
I believe there’s a change waiting to be made in the sex positivity movement.
I’m entering my twenties in a world where I, by my demographic’s standards, should have crossed off most, if not all, sex positions off of my sexual bucket-list. Politicians are determining the laws impacting my body. Adjectives like ‘prude’ and ‘slut’ are used in the same sentence to describe the same girl, all while Megan Thee Stallion sings about her tits on the radio (and of course we debate the discourse of it afterwards).
It makes things a bit confusing to say the very least.
Now, I don’t shy away from calling myself a feminist. I think it’s important for all individuals and marginalised groups to be equally represented societally and systemically. Within this fight is the sex positivity movement.
My first experience with sex positivity came with redefining the word ‘slut’. A word that is less associated with negative connotations given we have adapted to the belief that having many sexual partners and engaging in sex often is not a bad thing.
Another debate I noticed in my early days of the movement is the one surrounding sex work. A career choice that people previously deemed as shameful, a last resource of income and often related to class. We now know that many individuals find power and ownership over their body from operating in sex work. It allows them to love their body and its possibilities.
Among all the importance of uncovering the topics around sex that were once taboo, such as BDSM, kinks, non-monogamy and masturbation to name a few, sometimes I think we need to rewind.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in full support of the sex positivity movement and its discussions about topics that previously have been swept under the rug, including sexual acts that are the furthest from ‘plain’ and re-defining every derogatory word there is to bring comfort to our communities.
But have you ever tried Connoisseur vanilla bean ice-cream? It’s fucking delicious.
What I’m saying is, you don’t have to be into kinky sex to be part of the sex positive movement. If you love a good ol’ missionary session with your partner that you’ve been with for a few years, in your comfy bed, going to sleep in your matching pyjamas afterwards, you’re just as much a part of the movement as the next person.
However, I think we need to shed light on a new topic I’ve noticed entering the evolution of sex. That is, what if you don’t like sex? Maybe sex is painful? Perhaps you have trauma that impacts your sex life. These are all very real topics, not issues nor problems, that I believe need to be covered more frequently.
Every single human being is built in a different way and goes through very contrasting experiences. To expect everyone to enjoy the same thing really doesn’t make sense.
Let’s hear it for our friends with vaginismus, or those who experience dyspareunia. Sex can hurt.
It’s time to sit and listen to our pals who have sadly been through trauma. Progress is not linear and opening yourself up intimately can be extremely intimidating.
Maybe you haven’t had sex yet? Perhaps, there is a reason or no reason for this? Or maybe you don’t even know what the reason is? Either way, it’s cool, who cares anyway? Your sexual life begins before you lose your virginity. Sex goes beyond intercourse, this is what the sex positive movement is all about.
Besdies, I wanna know when we decided to start defining sex as penetrative? This is an outdated, heteronormative belief. Let’s recreate the narrative around what sex is. In doing this, our mates or ourselves, can hopefully feel happy, safe and confident in the skin we’re in.
When it comes down to it, my prediction for the future of the sex positivity movement is hopeful. If we continue these conversations, open up to one another and truly take in and absorb everyone’s experiences and what they have to say, there will be no ‘normal’. Simply remember the core of what it is to be a feminist: inclusitivity.
A chaotic, yet passionate, 20-something-year-old.