This Is What It Means to Be Sex Positive in 2019



I was perusing the content platform of sexual wellness brand Sustain Natural recently when a headline caught my eye. "Saying No to Sex is Still Sex Positive," it read, and I realized in a lightning bolt of clarity that my own thoughts around sex positivity were beholden to a rather outdated definition of the term: one that equates liberation with a lot of casual sex and an unflagging thirst for doing the deed.

It's a cultural byproduct of the free-loving 1960s, when the sexual-liberation movement first disrupted the fabric of a deeply conservative American culture, ultimately changing it for good: This is the era that normalized contraception, legalized abortion, and made those first enormous strides toward gender equality.

But Woodstock celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Times have changed, and the conversation around sex and reproductive health has become more nuanced and socially conscious than ever. To that end, it seems like the only appropriately modern definition of sex positivity is one that acknowledges our individual needs—even saying no, like the author of that article on Sustain.

In other words, it's about empowering an individual to define what pleasure and sexual wellness mean for them in any given moment on their own terms. It's an invitation to reject any fixed notions (and old stigmas) around female sexuality, especially as movements like #MeToo continue to reshape the way we talk about harassment, consent, and power imbalances. It's translating all of this into a consistently gratifying experience in the bedroom.