While growing up, how were you taught to view sexual activity? In the hopes of preventing children from engaging in “risky” behaviors, many of us were taught that sex is dirty, inappropriate, and/or taboo. I feel that this negative attitude only encourages uninformed risk-taking, causes young people to feel ashamed of their natural desires and leads to generally repressed, unhealthy relationships both with ourselves and others. However, there are clear signs that in recent years, this mind set has begun to change.
The concept of having a “sex positive” attitude was first coined in the 1960s, and is defined as a view of “human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation” (Gabosch). It is a counter-belief to the more traditional “sex-negative” attitude I described above that “sex is seen as a destructive force except when it is redeemed by the saving grace of procreation, and sexual pleasure is seen as sinful” (Rubin). Sex-positive thinking advocates the holistic sexual education that is so desperately needed by teenagers at this time and represents a much more free, equal and empowering outlook on sex and relationships.
Now, I know you probably think I am getting a little too “hippy-dippy”, but I promise you, if the idea of a more sex-positive culture is on my mind, it is because the movement has made a resurgence in mainstream society. Still skeptical? Read on.
CVS is your run-of-the mill corner drugstore. It carries necessary every-day products like Band-Aids, Gas-X, magazines, peanut butter and toilet paper. And in the “family planning” section, alongside the condoms, it also sells several types of vibrators – simply to serve your sexual desires. If that isn’t an indication that we as a collective society are becoming more open to the natural tendencies of sexuality and the health benefits of pleasure, I don’t know what is. CVS is making sex toys easily accessible to populations who might otherwise never consider enhancing their bedroom experiences. They are more affordable than in most sex stores, have simple directions and diagrams, and can be added to your weekly grocery shopping list – no stigma attached!
Investigate the sex-positive mainstream consumer convenience store near you, and report back on what you find (and how it feels!)! Let’s pave the way to a healthier attitude towards sex and sexuality, one toy at a time.
1. Gabosch, Allena (2008-02-26). "A Sex Positive Renaissance". Retrieved 2011-02-15. http://www.sexpositiveculture.org/blog/zblogentry.2008-02-26.0976756799.
2. Rubin, Gayle (1984). Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality. In Carole S. Vance (Ed.), Pleasure and Danger: exploring female sexuality, pp. 267–319. Boston (Routledge & Kegan Paul). ISBN 0-7100-9974-6
Edited by Alison Stanton