In previous posts, I've discussed openly my sexual orientation as well as my sexual behavior and the consequences I've faced because of this behavior. Yes, there can be negative results to having a hyperactive sex drive like I do. However, despite all this, I remain sex positive.
What does sex positive mean, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Sex positivity is the idea that men and women alike should have the right to express themselves sexually without being judged. Sex positive as it relates to feminism focuses on the idea that sexual freedom is essential in the fight for equality and women's freedom. In our society, men are often allowed, and even encouraged, to act upon their sexual urges with no fear of retribution or consequence because they have been taught since infant-hood that sexual desires are an innate part of being a boy. But with women, from the time we are young girls, we are told that our sexuality should not be talked about and should be kept secret, as if it were something to be ashamed of.
I remember being taught in Sunday School that our virtue was dependent on our sexual purity and our sexual urges were to be ignored. They were never acknowledged or dealt with; instead, they were swept under the rug. No one ever taught us, as young women, how to handle our sexuality. I was made to feel like I was not a proper girl because I often thought about sex like I was told boys do. And if I acted upon those thoughts, I would lose my virtue. To this day, I still do not understand this mentality. Do people not know the definition of the word virtue? Here, let me help you out:
virtue (ˈvɜːtjuː, -tʃuː) —n: 1. the quality or practice of moral excellence or righteousness.
Does it say anywhere in that definition "sexual purity?" I know for some people, that's what it means to practice moral excellence. But I have met many amazing and moral individuals who are sexually active, and they are far better people than some Christians or Mormons. Does this mean they have no virtue? No value?
Morality is an individual idea. It is a code either a culture or you yourself decide is ethical and acceptable. There is not one right or wrong way to morally govern your life. All you have to do is travel to a different country to see how different someone's morality can be simply because they grew up in a different culture. For this reason, I do not believe it is right for anyone to judge another person's actions. I mean, this is pretty cut and dry, people. Even Jesus taught that. You don't have to agree with others' lifestyles; but you don't have the right to look down on them for their decisions.
This practice of judging others for their actions has led to a culture in America of slut-shaming. Slut shaming is when someone bashes or verbally attacks an individual--usually a woman--for their sexual actions, or perceived sexual actions. THIS IS NOT OKAY AND NEEDS TO STOP. Unfortunately, within moral circles, such as Christian culture, slut shaming is completely acceptable and even somewhat encouraged. I attend BYU, and one of the things they make students swear to when they sign the honor code is to turn anyone in to the Honor Code Office that is being sexually inappropriate so they can face discipline.
Not only is that kinda creepy (like, dude, why are you so interested in someone else's sex life?), but it creates a culture that says it's okay to decide someone else's worth based on their actions and then punish them for said actions that do not in any way affect you. This also leads to a negative conception of sex. And people wonder why Christians have to fight against a guilty conscience concerning their sex life, even after being married.
The sex-positive movement is a movement that is trying to create a new culture which promotes and embraces sexuality all across the spectrum, from asexual to celibate to "sexually promiscuous." It also puts emphasis on consent and safe sex practices.
Sex positive means we acknowledge there is no such things as "sluts". There are women who are more sexually active and there are women who are not. Neither type of person should be shamed for their own choices.
Sex positive means we reject a culture that says if you aren't putting out, you're a prude; but if you've slept with even one guy, you're a whore.
Sex positive means we believe sex is a good thing! It is a gift that God gave us to create life, as well as to become closer to another human being and to experience pleasure.
Sex positive means determining for yourself what sex means to you and not determining it for others.
Sex positive means all sex that is being had should be consensual and safe, and any other factors are no one's business.
Sex positive means I can choose to wait for marriage because of religious convictions and still acknowledge that sex is important and not something to be ashamed of. It also means I can choose not to wait for marriage because of personal choices and that is not something to be ashamed of.
Basically, I'm saying all of this to try and get people to understand that sex is awesome, no matter how or when or with whom you are having it--it just needs to be consensual and safe. Having moral standards surrounding sexual activity is a good thing too, as long as it doesn't lead to bashing or superiority complexes. You don't have to agree with someone to love them.
I want people to also understand that when someone says they are sex positive, that doesn't automatically mean they are going around having sex with every person they meet. Some of the most sex positive women I've met didn't have sex until they were married, and that's great! As this article so wonderfully put it, "being sex positive isn't about encouraging everyone to have tons of sex all the time; it's about understanding that sex should be safe, shame-free and above all, based on informed, personal choices."
Let's get rid of a culture that puts women down for the same actions that are encouraged in men. That is sexism, and it is degrading and harmful. Let's get rid of slut-shaming and the idea that just because you don't agree with someone, that makes you better than them. Ask yourself, "Would Jesus have done this?"
We all need to be a little bit more loving and a lot less judgmental. Christian culture needs to refocus on what Jesus really came to this Earth to teach us: love and understanding and acceptance. He didn't teach us to call each other sluts or whores or prudes. He didn't teach us to shame or label or judge others. We get so caught up in all the rules and standards we think we have to follow in order to be considered a good person, and we forget to simply "love one another as Jesus loves you."
Let's stop the hate. Let's stop the judging. Let's start loving. Let's start being sex positive. Let's start being a little bit more like Jesus.