A buzzword we’re happy to get behind: Sex positivity. Most of us can agree that sex is pretty awesome—and a natural part of human existence—yet few of us really feel comfortable talking about it in the open. “We live in a culture where sex is typically painted as something shameful or dangerous, and that can be difficult to unlearn,” explains Chris Donaghue, Ph.D., certified sex therapist and author of Sex Outside the Lines. “Sex positivity is about re-programing ourselves to see that sexuality is healthy and appropriate.”

 

We want to help create this change, which is why Tryst is all about spreading sex positivity, body positivity and everything-and-everybody-positivity. Reducing stigmas and unnecessary shame is key to making healthy, informed choices. Read on to get answers to all your questions about the movement, why it matters and how you can be positive you’re sex positive.

 

 

What does it look like to be sex positive?

 

Accepting and respecting people’s sexual choices—whether that’s abstinence, casual hook ups, vanilla sex or “The Van Damme.”  “It’s about not judging people for what they’re into, how they look or how they dress—including yourself,” says Dr. Donaghue. “It’s also about not hiding or shaming our sexuality and not speaking in hushed tones or coded language when we talk about sex.”

 

What’s a common misconception about sex positivity?

 

That being sex positive is about pushing people toward sex and sexual behaviors—it’s not. “True sex positivity means sometimes valuing the opposite, like abstinence, asexuality or solo sex,” says Dr. Donaghue. “The idea is to honor and support everyone’s sexuality as it is.”

 

How can we be more sex positive?

 

Start by getting comfortable with your body. “Read books and articles about sex. Masturbate so you know what feels good to you and what doesn’t. And seek out good influences so you can hear about sex in a positive way,” says Dr. Donaghue. He also recommends taking a field trip to a nice sex boutique. “It can really help you work through anxieties when you see healthy examples of other individuals and couples who are just like you,” adds Donaghue.

 

Why does sex positivity matter?

 

Allowing room for more diversity and compassion will have a ripple effect that can improve self-esteem, body image and sexual experiences. “Embracing our sexuality has a huge impact on how we carry ourselves and how we interact with others,” says Dr. Donaghue. “If we can shift the culture away from sex negativity, we can help undo other things like sexism, abuse, body shaming and a host of other critical issues.”

 

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