Sex positivity is so much more that being an advocate for people having sex, a definition a lot of people attribute to the term. Sex positivity to me means that a person has informed consent, education, emotional support, emotional/mental capacity and full agency in making decisions about their body, including the choice not to have sex. A part of being sex positive that calls us beyond the counseling room is that as counselors, we have an ethical responsibility to motivate and bring about change in the greater society around culture and oppression. One example for this is the destigmatization of things such as STI status. Many people think that if someone has something like genital herpes, they don’t deserve to have sex with other people because of the risk of infection. However, to be truly sex positive, we must not give in to the media hysteria around those that have STIs because the fact is, their rates of transmission vary based on the stages of herpes and many people do safely have sex with STI-positive sex. Relatedly, another aspect of sex positivity that is important is that sex education that is provided must always be empirically face yet medically accurate. Lastly, like with all types of therapy, sex positivity must be accompanied with a heavy dose of non-judgment and unconditional positive regard. We must confront our own attitudes about sex, relationships, consent and morality around these issues an order for us to decrease our biased so don’t express judgment in ways that are even subconscious for not apparent to ourselves.
Caitlin Bovard, Sex Therapist