We’re quite positive you’ve heard the term ‘sex positive’ tossed around on the internet, in real life conversations, or in popular television shows. But, do you know the sex positive meaning or a bit of its history?

Let’s start with the sex positive definition. Loosely, it means being non-judgmental and respectful about the wide array of sex and sexuality-based discourse. To further break it down, being sex positive means having an open mind about the many roles sex plays in our world. This also means leading with consent and protection – first and foremost.

Sex positivity is far more than frivolous group sex arrangements and embracing exhibitionism - it’s a liberating message that values education and communication of informed choices surrounding human body pleasure. After all, nothing feels better than pure satisfaction.

To get you on your way to satisfaction, we’ll discuss important titbits of history from the sex movement, explain how being sex positive can relate to being body positive, see how it ties to feminism, unpack what it means to be sex negative, and highlight benefits of living a more sexually open-minded lifestyle. Let’s discuss.

Two fingers with red nail polish touching the top of an open pink flower.

1. Sex Positivity 101

Now that you know the general definition of sex positivity, it’s time we talk about the subtopics of a seemingly modern term. Do keep in mind that openness, acceptance, and tolerance towards all forms of sexuality is what we at Durex take pride in, and we encourage our readers to practise that behaviour. Because good sex is for all to enjoy.

If you find it hard to enjoy sex these days, gain new insights from our Set Yourself Free article which gives context to common issues that stem from emotional and sexual baggage.

A variety of pink sex toys on a pink background.

2. A Sexy History Lesson

So, we know that sexual pleasure and orgasms are highly beneficial for humankind… but do you know how far back this realization dates to? Around 1920-1930, when Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, in the dawning of Sigmund Freud’s studies, discovered that sexuality had a certain healing power. Years prior to that, sexuality held a lot of shame. Even now, in our current cultural landscape, shame is still attributed to sex. Let’s continue to eradicate that.

Jumping to the 1960s and 1970s, the sex positive movement reached the public in a more well-known form known as the sexual liberation – which backpacked on the hippie’s idealization of “free love” and became a socio-political movement. Essentially, this movement was designed to remove any guilt or judgement related to sexual desires. It goes without saying, we stand with this movement.

Currently, we’ve seen spikes in sex positivity that stand for all sex. Particularly in pop culture, celebrities like Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Julia Fox, and Lady Gaga have collectively given us moments of sexual freedom through lyrics, messages, and fashion statements that’s only continuing to grow within our cultural zeitgeist. This can provide more opportunities for people who aren’t celebrities to feel open to discussing sex education, safe sex, and consent.

Women holding each other while four men in underwear laugh together at a photoshoot.

3. How Is Sex Positivity Related To Body Positivity?

Body positivity relates to the idea that all people deserve to have a positive image about their bodies, regardless of societal norms surrounding ideal shape, size, and appearance. This relates to one’s own experience being a sex positive individual because when you love the skin you’re in, you can subsequently become more comfortable with exploration – whether it be in a sexual light (with our without partners) or in another form of self-fulfilment. Both movements stand to challenge sociological expectations while serving as a place for zero judgement and hate.

Feel yourself detached from the love you should have for your body? Check out our Great Tips For: Accepting Your Body and Loving Yourself and find the self-confidence we know you have in you.

Various people raising their hands in unison at a sex movement protest.

4. Understanding Sex Positive Feminism

With roots in the 1980s, sex positive feminism is a movement used to empower women to explore their bodies and sexual desires free from the fears of sexual violence. This movement puts a microscope on three core subject matters: autonomy, consent, and gender. Autonomy meaning the individual choice to dictate your own sex life. Consent being the spoken agreement between people looking to engage in sexual activity. And gender pointing to equality and fair treatment for all.

But what about those who aren’t on board with sex positivity? Like with everything, there’s a flipside to this conversation.

Two sets of legs rubbing against each other on top of bed sheets.

5. What Does It Mean To Be Sex Negative?

What is sex negativity exactly? Unfortunately, it’s inherently ingrained in our society. It can manifest itself in comment threads of slut-shaming behaviour, show its face when demoralizing someone for how many people they’ve slept with, or jump out during abstinence-only sex education – teaching women their value in sexual life is based solely on reproductive ability. Whatever the situation, example, or case may be, sex negativity assumes human sexuality is harmful and dirty. It approaches sex from a place of fear, as opposed to a place of pleasure.

Here, at Durex, we consistently strive to create a community of sexual acceptance and liberation. We know that safe and consensual sex makes people feel great. What is sex like in our eyes? A positive experience shared between humans. Let’s share a few benefits of being sex positive with you.

Pink haired woman kissing her blonde haired boyfriend in a sex positive moment.

6. Benefits Of Being Sex Positive

It’s about time you enjoy your sexuality. You deserve it, baby! What is sex positivity going to provide in the long run? Well, here’s a small list:

  1. It offers comfort and confidence. When shame gets eliminated from sexuality, you begin to feel more adjusted to experiencing very natural human desires. While sexuality is still complex for some, indulging in your own pleasure can help you have a better relationship with your body and mind – leading to a healthier relationship with yourself.
  2.  It allows you to feel more compassion. Being sex positive lets you offer more empathy and have a better understanding of different sexual relationships. It removes a certain veil of judgement, and instead goes about sex in a more respectful manner.
  3. It makes you a stronger lover and friend. People who embody the sex positive definition have a great listening ear, are receptive to the needs of others, and have a specialized level of care that is unmatched when it comes to bonding.
  4. It keeps you better informed. Being educated about consent, sexual activity, and expression is only a positive thing. Sex positive people put all that knowledge into great use, and have the capabilities to share what they know with others – extending the line of emancipated communication.
  5. Lastly, it helps create more intimate moments. Because people who have learned to be open regarding their sexualities, needs, and desires are the same people who can experience a deeper level of mutual understanding in bed (or elsewhere). Create more of an understanding that protection = pleasure with Durex® Pleasure Mix® condoms* that comes with four different types of enhancing experiences (stimulation, closeness, or extra sensitivity is highly favoured).
Woman and man sharing a soft kiss on their bed.

7. Final Thoughts

How’s that for a positive take? If you’re wondering ‘what is sex positivity in our society today’, let us tell you it’s only going to get better, and stronger, as we communicate together. Using our shared skills and experience, we only hope you have the most sex positive year ahead of you and go about your journeys with a brilliant, beautiful, and open mind.

Have you experienced a toxic relationship? Know the 6 Signs of a Healthy Relationship in order to avoid feelings of anxiousness or unfulfillment.

*Ensure this product is right for you. Always read and follow the label before use.

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