Sex Positive, Negative and Neutrality

This post is for the June Carnival of Aces hosted at Demi Gray.

Sex positive is an approach defined as promoting sexuality and regarding individual choices of consensual sexual expression which over time cultivate health and happiness as fundamentally good. It also promotes doing so in a safe and educated way. However there are also definitions that go on to add: that societal repression or control of the individual’s sex-drive is bad and unhealthy.

This is in contrast to sex negative or antisexualism which is opposition or hostility towards sexual behaviour and sexuality.

I find that these terms create a binary. Whilst the sex positive movement does acknowledge that a person should be free to consent to expressing their sexuality freely and that sex education and safe practices promoted, it can often be misinterpreted and as the above definition adds lead to the belief that sex is necessary and repressing that is bad. Though the bigger issue is that the only contrast is sex negativity, which very few people will agree is a good thing.

This creates a binary where your options are to be open and accepting about people’s sexual choices or to shut them down and try to repress them. What happened to being indifferent, not caring or not wanting to know? A lot of the time you end up in situations where other people can feel your lack of care, want to know, or in some cases inability to understand can get you accused of being sex negative (likely expressed by calling you out for judging or being a prude). This of course can only make you more judgemental for being judged can lead you to judging the other person for judging you, in the end making nobody feel good about themselves.

This is where there is a gap for sex neutral. Which I’m defining as a non-disapproving and non-approving but rather indifferent approach, that isn’t worried about how people are expressing themselves as long as it is safe, consensual and informed (which are more health and safety concerns for anything you do, sexual or not). So very similar to being sex positive but it isn’t worried about promoting it or anything, rather it is an approach of not feeling it needs to be discussed beyond those directly involved as to whether it is bad or good and accepting people have the choice to express themselves how they wish but you don’t have to care.

This term is one that would be very helpful as it allows people to define themselves without feeling that they are saying something that they are not, in this case supporting of sex and its expression, just to avoid being categorised as sex negative. This is true of many  aces, particularly those that are repulsed or sex-averse (such as myself). Often they have no interest ordo not wish to hear about sex or what others do sexually, in my case its a lack of ability to entirely comprehend, but are also not critical of the other person however this can be interpreted as disapproving. There needs to be room for this and not feel that you have to defend yourself for not feeling like promoting sex as a good (or bad) thing.

I’m sure many people would benefit from this term, asexual or not, as not everybody wants to promote sex, rather it should be seen as an activity that you choose your own approach to and if you aren’t for or against it why can’t you be neutral?

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3 comments on “Sex Positive, Negative and Neutrality

  1. S. Positive says:

    Thanks for this clearly written and heartfelt piece! We also have struggled with issues of judgement in sex positivity. We constructed the definition you quoted with the intent that it provide a framework for everybody.

    If one feels that one is asexual or sex-neutral, and assuming one has been truthful with oneself to create personal consent, and that one feels that such identity/sexual expression cultivates one’s health and happiness then sex positivity has one covered!

    We know that these concepts are rapidly evolving, and seek only to facilitate the growth of frameworks which are useful and beneficial to us all on our movements forward.

    Much Aloha

  2. Nowhere Girl says:

    Interesting. I usually declare myself as sex-neutral (in regard to values; sex-averse in regard to myself), however, I define it in a slightly different way: I can’t declare myself as sex-positive because I just couldn’t agree that sex is, per se, positive = good. In my opinion it leaves dangerously little place for personally rejecting sex. It automatically means choosing the worse option. Exactly because of this I say that sex, per se, is morally neutral, neither good nor bad – if sex is to be evaluated, then only in particular situations: do the partners fully and freely consent or is someone being pressured? Do they respect each other? Is anyone being (ab)used? And so on.

  3. […] en la comunidad asexual (se pueden encontrar usos y propuestas independientes en 2006, 2010 y 2013) como una suerte de unión entre sexo-positivo y sexo-negativo, una postura crítica que considera […]

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