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What is Sex-Positivity?

I realized that too many of us have ​different ideas on what it means to have a sex-positive sexuality.

Reflecting on the conference that I was at last weekend, the Whose Beloved Community? Conference that focused on Black ​and LGBTQIA civil rights, I realized that too many of us have ​different ideas on what it means to have a sex-positive sexuality. For those folks who haven’t done their homework, the sex-positive movement is based on having effective sex education, ​invoking safer sex practices, initiating consent, and having ​confidence in your sexual choices that are healthy decisions for ​you and the other people who are also involved.

Why do we engage in the kind of sex we do?

As I led the “Sexualities” Roundtable at lunch during the ​conference, we all realized that some folks think that having a sex-​positive mindset means that you have the freedom to have all kinds of sex. While this may be true, we were in consensus that it matters WHY we engage in the particular type of sex that we want to engage in.

Meaningless sex is harmful.

In our lives, we’ve noticed that with ourselves and with our friends that people who engage in sex and they don’t know why they’re engaging in sex at that time. Sex with no meaning, we’ve realized, that it’s dangerous to our well-being. There are so many reasons why people have sex and if you were to engage in sex and say to yourself, “The reason I’m engaging in sex is because…” then it’s a valid reason -- whether it’s healthy or not, it helps to cater to our mental attitude towards our behavioral decision.

Confidence is key.

We also realized that having a healthy sex life means that you have the capability to say “no” when you want to and without coercion. It’s a way of being ​confident in your sexual decisions and then also realizing that it’s also about ​when you mess up and realizing the consequences that may come about because ​of your mistakes. It’s knowing that you aren’t perfect 100% of the time.

The Free Love Movement.

Having a sex-positive sexuality also relates to the FREE LOVE MOVEMENT. However, people think that the Free Love movement has to do with promiscuity, when that’s not the case. Although, logically, it sounds like that’s what it would be, in fact, it’s more about the regulation of sexuality that is put into our policies ​and laws. All those laws that have to do with regulations regarding marriage, ​abortion, prostitution and other things that are prevalent to the regulation of ​women’s bodies, are associated with the ideology of the Free Love Movement.

Sex-Positive Feminist Movement

Last, but not least, the SEX-POSITIVE FEMINIST MOVEMENT has helped women (and men) propel their sexualities to the forefront and think about their own desires and how it affects their womanhood (and manhood) and their mental and sexual health. Embracing your own sexuality and the reasons why you do what you do make sex and sexuality that much better. But you don’t have to trust me. Try it for yourself!

Marla Stewart

Marla Renee Stewart, MA is a professional sex, intimacy and relationship coach and sex educator. Not only is she a lecturer at Clayton State University, she is also the co-founder of the Sex Down South Conference and the Sexual Liberation Collective. Gaining her reputation for being "The Sex Architect", she created Velvet Lips to empower people of all ages to embrace, educate and enjoy their sexuality and their sexual lives. She has studied human sexuality for more than 16 years at San Francisco State University and Georgia State University, respectively, and has expert knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. She has published academic articles and continues to do sexuality research. She has conducted workshops at conferences, not-for-profit and private organizations, as well as universities in the Atlanta area. She has been featured on many radio shows, documentaries, books, magazines and has been invited to speak at Universities around the country. She also sits on the board for the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!
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