What Does Sex Positivity Mean Anyway?
By now we’ve all heard of the term “sex-positive,” or the idea that all consensual expressions of sexuality are good and healthy. Yet this idea of “sex positivity” has been positioned as something different for Black women.
When it comes to embracing our true sexual selves, Black women deal with so many more added layers. There’s the misconception that we’re hypersexual or that we’ll do anything sexually to keep a man. Our bodies are sexualized in mainstream media, including movies, music, and TV, not to mention the stigma that comes with discussing sex and pleasure out in the open, as if it were something dirty or something that’s not “proper.”
All these factors come at us nonstop from a young age and shape our identity. They can complicate the way we think about sex and whether we take full ownership of our sexuality, and they can make it harder to be sex-positive Black women. But that doesn’t mean we can’t redefine sex-positivity for ourselves!
Freedom of sexuality for self
One of the main obstacles women face when trying to take ownership of their sexuality is shame. So many times, sex isn’t something that’s talked about in our households or where we grow up. When we do talk about it, we face slut-shaming or being told to not talk about it. This sets up the misconception that sex isn’t good. We have to acknowledge these misconceptions and begin to change the way we think about sex so that we can make the best choice for ourselves, our bodies and our well-being. There is no shame in learning about sex and finding what works for you. That’s empowerment!
Acceptance of others’ sexuality
Listen, just like we don’t want to be slut-shamed, we can’t be out there shaming others either! Ain’t nobody got time for that kind of hate. Being sex-positive means that we accept other people’s choices. Just because it’s not something we would do personally doesn’t mean it’s wrong. We have to remember that we’re all on this journey together, and different people will like different things. After all, we’re all constantly growing and evolving.
Advocacy for collective acceptance
We’re all in this together. Being sex-positive doesn’t just mean embracing your own sexuality, it also means uplifting others! So, next time you’re with your girlfriends, don’t squirm at the thought of talking about sex! If you just read a great resource about safe sex, share it! If you saw someone joyfully and hilariously talking about sex, spread that joy! Slowly but surely, we can cultivate spaces where we can speak about sex freely and openly, but we all need to do our part to get there.
Owning our sexuality and being sex-positive takes work, but it’s worth it because it empowers us to not only own our bodies, but allows us to take steps to fully own our lives. So, what’s holding you back from fully owning your sexuality? I invite you to explore that question, reimagine what sex-positivity means for you, and how you can embrace it in your life.