04 April, 2009

Are you sex-positive?

These days, if you read much about sex or hang out in a sex-friendly community, you’ve likely heard the phrase “sex-positive.” But do you know what it means? I’ve had my ear to the ground and have concluded that for some, it’s confusing.

To say that you’re sex-positive doesn’t just mean you like sex (though I hope you do, or at least aspire to). Your own relationship to sexual pleasure and possibility is only one part of what makes you sex-positive. Since there’s no dictionary definition yet, and since I’m one of the people most identified with this phrase, I figured I’d celebrate the launch of this fabulous new site, CarnalNation , by essaying a basic meaning for this not-well-understood philosophy.

First, though, why me? I came to San Francisco in the mid-1980s for three main reasons. I was chasing a girlfriend (star-crossed—it didn’t last); I was looking for my own personal sexual utopia (found it, pretty much, after I got over the girl); and I was aiming to get a doctorate in sexology. The latter reason is what connected me with the notion of sex-positivity, a phrase already in fairly common use at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality . Hearing it gave me one of those “A-ha, Dr. Einstein, everything IS relative!” brain explosions, and pretty much my whole life of experiences, experiments, and struggles with sexuality fell into place. I had always been one of those people who didn’t quite fit in a box. My identity morphed over time. My sexual desires were fluid, and in my previous life I had been a very bad little lesbian indeed because I kept wanting to get tied up, or fuck guys sometimes, or who knows what. In fact, if you had a fresh sexual idea, I probably wanted to try it. I once worked as a barmaid in Texas and went home with the ugliest guy in the bar just because his pickup line was so great: “Hey, have you ever done it standing up in a hammock?” In the context of my Ph.D. program, I was just another little sex scientist doing her labs, but the study of sexology finally gave me a context for my always-curious sexual urges. Before, I’d felt like I was from Mars, or that, at least, my sex drive was. Read on >>

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