Am I Sex Positive?
Editors Note: This is an article Ms. Heuwagen wrote in 2014 between Master’s programs. It still rings true today.
My sex life didn’t start out on the most positive of notes. Boys abused me, pressured me and confused me about the whole act of sex. The images I was given through the media didn’t help either. MTV was showing everyone hooking up on the Real World or Laguna Beach- never with the same person twice, so I thought I was’t “doing” it right. It seemed like everyone was having sex and enjoying themselves, so why wasn’t I? It hurt a lot, I never got any pleasure and it was, quite frankly, boring. The images I was seeing made it look so easy and romantic, but I never felt like the girls in the movies.
It wasn’t until I entered college that I started to understand what sex could be. It stopped hurting when I found out I was allergic to latex and I was given the opportunity to learn about my body and what I really enjoyed. Through a caring and patient partner and my own experimentation with the sex toy industry, I was able to discover new things about myself and my sexuality.
It got even better when I was given the opportunity to do some sex research. I was able to publish, “Gender Differences in the Interpersonal Context of Sexual Encounters of College Students,” as well as learn such fascinating things about other people’s sex lives, without it being awkward. I went from a blushing prude (yes a prude, a very severe conservative that thought all women should be covered up and keep their legs closed- oh how the tides have changed) to an open minded and excited sexologist in a matter of weeks. People were telling me about their fantasies and all the places they had sex, to the number of sexual partners and positions. I just could not get enough! It was then that I decided to continue my education. As a graduate student at the University of South Florida, I currently study and explore sexuality and sexology. I was given the opportunity to assist with the class, Human Sexual Behavior and from there I discovered I wanted to be a sex therapist.
I also know now I really love and enjoy sex. I am a sex positive feminist that loves to bring knowledge and pleasure to everyone I meet. I am open about sexuality and how it ebbs and flows in our lives and I don’t see how what other people do to pleasure themselves involves me- have at it as long as it’s safe and consensual, go baby go! When I discuss my dreams for the future, it usually involves bringing orgasms to the world. Watch out Dr. Ruth!
Yet, what does it mean to be sex positive?
There really isn’t a solid definition. It’s a moving target that many scholars and activists alike can not agree on. But I like to think of it as being positive about sex. It’s a mentality that embraces all positive aspects of sexuality and the various acts of sex. There is no slut shamming or bashing of any kind about what people do to pleasure themselves. Sex is openly discussed. It also addresses the various myths associated with some sexual acts as well as myths about the body. I believe that a good sexual education is a must and that it teaches people from a young age about all the aspects of sex. Fulfillment and pleasure are on the top of my list as issues that need to be discussed in sex ed classes. Health is also an important matter when being sex positive. Knowing not only how to name the correct body parts, but knowing how reproductive systems work, as well as how to pleasure oneself, is the first step being being sexually healthy. Lastly, I also believe that safety and consent is a big part of being able to control what happens to you before, during and after sex. It is extremely important and sets the tone for the rest of your sex life. Seeing sex as beautiful is a wonderful thing.
What do you think? Do you see yourself as sex positive? I would love to hear from you! Let me know if you have any sex related questions you want answered and we will feature your questions on the blog!