Being sex positive…
…has nothing to do with the sex you have.
It is about creating access and opportunity for people to express and experience their sexuality the way they would like to do so. It is about making all expressions of sexuality equally accessible and accepted, not about promoting your fetish or throwing awesome sex parties. Now, don’t get me wrong, I firmly abide by the maxim “loving kindness starts within.” If throwing sex parties gives you the energy to create change in the world, if it is the way you practice self care and the place from which you draw empathy, by all means throw sex parties. But sex parties are not enough. Sex parties are not enough not only for the many many reasons that make them exclusionary and privileged events, but because, by their very nature, they promote one expression of sexuality (public, non-monogamous, extroverted) above others.
Today, an acquaintance told me about an upcoming TLC show about virgins (the scandal!) and in an unrelated stream, Peroxide spoke of his own decision to practice abstinence vis-a-vis openly gay coworkers saying, “It’s not just that I’m jealous of their ability to express their sexuality, when I don’t feel comfortable even explaining mine. They’re also pursuing their sexuality…” This to me is a failing of the sex positive movement. In validating and celebrating one aspect of sexuality we have abandoned the wide range of human sexual diversity. In my opinion (and Peroxide you have my permission to hit me upside the head for telling you about your sexuality, you will have the opportunity in May) Peroxide is pursuing his sexuality; it is simply different than the sexuality portrayed on sex positive banners.
And there is an interesting argument here that often explains that because so much of our culture is sex negative we have to be out and proud cheerleaders for sex to compensate. But to me there is a more interesting underlying issues – those people we see as sex negative, what does their sexuality look like? What makes a conservative Christian woman who has only had one sexual partner in her life feel sexual? What messaging gives her confidence in her body? And what are her fears around sexuality?
Having a sexually fulfilling life, throwing or attending sex parties, having just one partner or many, those are all fine beautiful things, but they are personal things. Your sex is not your activism because your sex is unique to you; it is narrow in scope. Sexual freedom activism needs to be the other side of the spectrum, it needs to be broad, to look outside of your own wants, and accept the range of sexual experiences and desires that encompass both anonymous sex in the dark and monogamous sex in the context of marriage. I’ve said it before: While there is violence and systemic oppression be it economic, political, or social in the world we are all bound to abide by the rules lest we fall into that victim class.