Categories: Sex and Salt Lake City

Sex positivity

Sex positivity is a term that floats around often these days. People speak freely, sharing their sex stories or stating how kinky, poly, casual, etc., their interests are and all the while believing they’re sex-positive. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find clarity in what is or isn’t sex positivity.

What it isn’t:

Liking sex or thinking everyone should

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the act of sex. I encourage it. I like to consider myself a great sex enabler, and if there is any way I can help someone achieve a place where they feel their best sexual self, I’m all about it. However, finding pleasure in various sexual activities, and feeling positive about them, is not the same as being sex positive. Many love the act of sex and yet still judge others who do sex differently than they do. The fact is, it’s possible for someone to be extremely sex-positive and at the same time not be interested in any sexual activity at all.

Not having boundaries

Everyone has boundaries. Everyone. When someone makes the statement, they don’t have boundaries they’re either assuming that the person has the same sexual interest as they do. Or they haven’t yet been in a situation where a boundary of their own has been recognized. One of the most amazing things about sexuality is how varying tastes are for people. It’s easy to consider that no two people like the same toppings on their pizza. Usually, we’re open to sharing our food preferences. Sex is no different. Like our varying taste palettes, our sexual palettes differ as well. Everyone would fair better to have a conversation about boundaries before bringing out any floggers or whips or inviting your partner to a swinger party. Without such a conversation one can never be sure if scenarios are hard limits or hell yes’s.

The beauty of sex positivity is that everyone gets to decide what works best for them individually. Each person should feel safe and shame-free to make an empowered choice, whether enjoying casual sex with multiple partners, committing to a monogamous lifestyle, or living in chosen celibacy.

Some people are kinky. Some people are polyamorous. Some people are swingers. Some people are queer. Some people are monogamous. Some people are straight. Some people enjoy fetish play. Some people are vanilla. Some people prefer solo sex with porn. Some people prefer group sex. The list could go on, and we’d never see the end of it. Judging and shaming others because they find their pleasure differently is not sex positive. Sex positivity celebrates the different ways people sexually express themselves whether its of personal interest or not.

What it is:

Consensual

Sex positivity is consensual between all parties involved whether that be one person alone or a group of several people. Those involved each have the agency to choose what level of activity works for them. Sex positivity is free from coercion and shame.

Being accountable

I believe in erring on the side of caution when it comes to accountability. Being proactive in getting tested regularly, being honest with a partner(s), and being honest with oneself regarding interests and desires — sometimes this means participating and sometimes not. It’s important to recognize that either is okay. It’s sex-positive to have conversations about when and when not to use barriers; disclose STI status and be clear about the intentions each person has when engaging sexually. One person may be seeking a casual encounter while the other is seeking a relationship. Both are valid, but it’s important to be clear.

Respectful of differences

To be sex-positive, one would need to feel good about the fact that others have interests that are different from their own and recognize those interests are equally valid.

Sex positivity is a state of mind. Being sex-positive is honoring and accepting that human sexuality is diverse, fluid, and subjective. Sex positivity invites us to acknowledge that there is no hierarchy in sexual interests, sexual orientation, gender identity, or relational configuration. Sex positivity is honoring that everyone has agency over their sexual preferences. The spectrum of sexual interest is as varied as humans are overall. To promote sex positivity is to accept various forms of consensual sexual expression whether they are of personal interest or not. To be sex-positive is to be kind.

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Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook

Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook is a graduate level Clinical Sexologist, with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Doctorate Degree in Human Sexuality. As a Clinical Sexologist, she believes a large part of her job is to be a sex enabler. Through counseling, workshops, and hands on exercises, she assists others in achieving the level of sexual function they desire. She enjoys the study and research of not only what people are doing sexually, but how they feel about it. Dr. Laurie divides her time between Los Angeles California, and Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to seeing clients in either of her offices or via skype, she is President for the non-profit, Sex Positive Los Angeles inc. (SPLA) and recently began a chapter in Salt Lake City, (SP-SLC). Her non-profit offers sexual education and support programs throughout Los Angeles and Salt Lake Counties. Rounding off her work, she is an IPSA certified Surrogate Partner Therapist working with clients and therapists in a triadic model to assist in bringing clients comfortable with their sexual selves. Dr. Laurie can be found in various publications; radio, podcast, and television interviews. For individual consultations or appointments please contact her at DrLaurieBennettCook@gmail.com Welcoming and affirming of all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all sexual and relationship expressions.

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