what is sex positive?
I have learnt and taught a lot about sexuality and yet I still feel like I’m walking on the edge of a universe full with serendipities waiting for my discovery. What I love in sex is its’ complexity and volatility. Sex is physical. Sex is emotional. Sex is psychological. Sex is social. Sex is cultural. Above all, sex is personal. Sex cannot be just one of the above but their intricate texture which is present in every moment in our very personal lives. I am walking, working, twiddling in this universe, like in a garden. If you understand my words, I invite you to join me.
Our “perfect” body
First and foremost sex is physical. Nevertheless, our body, how we see, how we think about it, and even how we feel it, is also deeply dependent on our culture. If we think it would be so much better to be smaller, skinnier, taller, have bigger tits or smaller ones, this tells a lot about the health/beauty norms of our culture. If we think physical or emotional pain means that something went wrong in our body or in our life this also tells us that in our culture pain has a solely negative connotation. Media often shows women that our breasts are unquestionably a sexual body part, but what if we feel the opposite? Am I normal? Should I feel otherwise? Sometimes we dare to be annoyed by the media for telling us how we should look, behave or feel. But sometimes our life is much easier if someone else tells us what to do with our bodies and souls.
Our sexual body
Despite all the available “factual” information and media image we all live in our own subjective reality. In every life situation we have our own feelings, desires, pains or losses, deep inside or on the surface. Despite all the idealized body, beauty and sex images, in reality we each have different body shapes, scents, and all kinds of body fluids and skin blemishes. We all know how it feels to be imperfect, to be emotionally confused, embarrassed, lost or defenseless. This is life. Our body is our life. With tears, sweat, blood, milk, and all kinds of fluids of desire. Everything from our body is the most reliable reality of our life. Our culture teaches us how to ignore or hide these things. Instead of reading our bodies we run to experts to fix our problems. If sexual intercourse is dry and painful this might be a sign. It might be because of a shift in our hormone system but it could also be because for some reason we are not able to get connected. Maybe it is because I am still too tired after giving birth. Maybe it is that I am insecure in my work, or because my body still remembers a childhood trauma. Or perhaps it is because we have lost our sexual interest toward each other over the years. Our body honestly tells us everything. We need to learn to read, understand, (and this is the most difficult), to accept it.
Mystery of sex
Over the decades our Western culture created the whole universe of human sexuality. All the biological facts about the body and its functioning. All the different genders and categories of sexual orientation, identity and behavior; the whole world of the erotic. What is expected, accepted, tolerated and also what is punished. What is normal and what is perverted. What is healthy and what is not. The romanticism and the aesthetics of sexuality. This universe is given for all of us when we are born to this world. But we have to discover and enjoy our own unique and peculiar sexuality within all those given norms, expectations, and ideals. This is not an easy job. We have to be able to trust our own sensations and emotions. We have to be able to accept and respect our own needs and desires. I do believe that the mystery of sex is the mystery of every unrepeatable moment in our life. Every step on our own path in our own unique universe.
Being a woman and becoming a mother taught me the concept of balance as one of the most important things ever. I have learned that there are no good or bad things, but that we can all afford to have failures and weaknesses, and to make mistakes. Because we all have our skills, strengths, and power. Being empowered also means that we can afford to accept our weaknesses, and if we accept them that helps us to get back all our capacities and strengths. Losing balance is a vicious circle. The opposite is also true. If we are balanced we can “use” all our “weaknesses”and they become resources. I have learned that we can find the balance between our competing social roles. Being a woman, a professional, a lover, a mother, a kinky or a vanilla can be an unbearable burden but also offers a variety of choice and resources. The balance depends on us. My garden taught me how to find the balance and harmony between my soul and my body. I learned how deeply I am connected with nature, with earth, with the weather, with water. My inner harmony is a part of a much stronger and ancient system. I know that my wisdom is somewhere deep in my guts. Everyday life taught me how to keep the awareness of my changing priorities and how to prevent myself from being overwhelmed by daily routines and urgent trifles.
Sex as rhythm
Nature and my life-changes taught me that I have to be more aware of my timing. I need to accept that my timing sometimes does not coincide with that of others. And I need to notice if other people’s timing is really not aligned with my own. We all have a different rhythm. Moreover, our inner tempo is changing all the time; how fast we can learn new things, adjust to new life situations, to a new partner, how fast we can let things go, how much time we need to arrive or to mourn our losses. But we all live in societies where we have to adjust our inner tempo to bigger structures such as workplace or the kid’s school. We have to adjust to the rhythm of the country, the city, as well as the family or the relationship. Sometimes it is really difficult to identify our own basic needs regarding time and space and our culture does not pay too much attention to the importance of these issues. How much time do I need to understand someone? During their labor when the body is inevitably present most women have the opportunity to learn about this rhythm, but this awareness might be needed for any of us in each of life’s situations.
Sex as self-development
Once in a group session a mother of four said that sex is the best way to encourage her self-development. I agree. Sex is the body. Sex is the skin, our senses, the flesh. Sex is scents and body fluids. Sex is a balance. A balance between my time and your time. A balance between my and your gender roles. A balance between our boundaries. Sex is an energy balance. Sex is energy. Sex is desire. Sex is pleasure. Sex is pain. Sex is power. But sex also can be a power game. Sex is attention. Attention to ourselves and others. “Good” sex is about being connected. Connected with myself and with others. Sex is always the present, even if it has a past or future. Sex is truly me.
Sex is power
Nevertheless, sexuality has a lot to do with society. I can think that I am free from categories but this is not always true. I am highly dependent from a culture and society where I live as so from its power dynamics. I was raised by a closeted gay father in a small town where homophobia was not only a blurry theoretical concept but also a daily experience. He was the best and worst father ever. He did his best to help me to become a successful and empowered woman, but the lie on which our family was based made the whole story controversial and extremely fragile. I was a university student when he was killed. He died because he was “homosexual”. He died because he was vulnerable, defenseless. Now I work devotedly for a world where no one can be harmed because of his or her sexual orientation, gender, race or any difference. I want my child to grow up in a safe and accepting environment. Because sex is power all in our hands, panties.