Tuesday, December 04, 2007

There is no ‘sex neutral’

I’m not usually a fan of the simplistic us/ them, ‘you're either with us or against us’ divides. However, while having an online chat with someone, who brought up one of my online profiles, which identifies that I wish to meet queers with sex positive values, and asked if being sex neutral is enough…I really don’t think so, actually

In a society that is so overwhelmingly sex negative, to be sex neutral is, in a sense, to support the status quo. Further into the chat, I realised that this person felt as if sex positivity implied that all sex was a good thing, all the time, was unable to distinguish between rape and consensual sex, so to be 'sex neutral' meant to have a balanced view. Quite simply, I define sex positivity as a rejection of the dominant view of sex as shameful, or harmful, and seeing any and all consensual sexual practices as not needing justification or apology. This doesn't mean that other social justice concerns (racism, sexism, ablism, peace and anti-violence work etc) are put aside in the pursuit of sex, or think all sex is amazing and fabulous all the time, but to know that sex negativity is the opposite of life affirming, that it damages the way we feel about our bodies and our ability to experience pleasure, and inhibites our ability to have joyful, negotiated, respectful sex.

Of course sex isn't always an amazing experience.... at times I have had sex that way so awful, I'd rather chew my limbs off and poke my eyes out than repeat the experience. Mostly those times have featured - in my early years of being sexual, shame and awkwardness and an inability to communicate or have any real language to communicate desires and boundaries, a lack of goodwill and respect between sexual partners - at the tail end of nasty relationshiups - of the last few tense shags before the break up, this will sometimes be the case, or sex with someone that is physically attractive or generally charming and fun, whom I am yet to discover is in fact morally incompatible. Mostly, aside from issues of incompatibility, sex can be improved via good communication, respect and good self esteem. Sex negativity eats away at the possiblity of this.

When working for a South Australian organisation, I was involved with the committee to organise the first Sexual Health Awareness Week. The theme was 'pleasure, safety, respect'. I loved that pleasure and respect were considered essential parts of sexual health. For common-sense, sex positive sexuality info, check out http://sexuality.about.com/

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