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NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, March 10, 2022

What Does Sex Positive Mean?

These days it's generally more acceptable to talk about sex than it used to be. The taboos around sex have been decreasing over time (see my articles: Sexual Wellness: Savoring Pleasure).

Being Sex Positive

As compared to the past, there is a greater awareness that consensual sex between adults is pleasurable and it has many possible health benefits, including: 
  • Increased libido
  • Better sleep
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Improved self esteem
  • Better heart health
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased emotional intimacy with your partner
  • Stress reduction
What Does Sex Positive Mean?
Sex positivity recognizes that sex between consenting adults isn't anything to feel ashamed or guilty about (see my article: Relationships: What is Rec-Relational Sex?).

People who are sex positive have a healthy attitude about sex and they feel comfortable with their bodies and sexual identity. They also respect others' bodies and sexual identity.  In addition, people who are sex positive also consider sexual activities as healthy and pleasurable. 

Sex Positive Attitudes and Behaviors 
The following list include sex positive attitudes and behaviors:
  • Listening to your partner tell you about their sexual preferences
  • Being respectful of your partner not necessarily liking what you like
  • Making sure you practice safe sex, use reliable birth control (if needed), and getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases when needed
  • Advocating for comprehensive sex education 
  • Being nonjudgmental and respectful of the diversity of sexuality and gender expression
  • Valuing consent, communication, and education that allows individuals to make informed choices about their bodies and their pleasure 
What is Sex Negativity?
Sex negativity approaches sex from fear and shame.  It attempts to induce guilt and shame. Although there is less sex negativity than in the past, there is still a significant amount of negativity about sexual attitudes and behavior, which is ingrained in certain segments of our society, including:
  • Telling girls and women that they "provoked" a sexual attack based on the clothes they wear (victim blaming)
  • Shaming women for engaging in sex, often referred to as "slut shaming"
  • Acting violently against heterosexual women and girls, lesbians, bisexuals, sex workers, trans women
  • Making derogatory sexual remarks to women or girls
  • Condoning an attitude of "boys will be boys" when boys or men attack women verbally or physically 
  • Getting offended if your partner doesn't want to engage in a particular sexual activity that you want
  • Pressuring or bullying your partner to participate in sexual activities that they don't want
  • Shaming your partner about sexual fantasies involving consenting adults
  • Being unwilling to discuss sex with your partner out of shame or guilt
  • Being unwilling to practice safe sex or use birth control if requested by your partner
  • Advocating against sex education
  • Being judgmental and disrespectful to diversity of sexuality and gender expression
  • Devaluing sex as being dirty, shameful, disgusting, unnatural, risky and so on

Getting Help in Therapy
If you're struggling with attitude or behaviors that are sex negative, seek help from a knowledgeable sex positive mental health professional.

Freeing yourself from sex negativity can help you and your partner to have a more intimate and enjoyable sex life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 or email me.