What Does "Sex Positive" Mean?

Medically Reviewed on 9/13/2022
sexually positive
A sex-positive person has an attitude of positivity and openness and a non-judgmental mindset toward the sexuality and sexual behaviors of other people.

For many people, sex is still a taboo topic. To be "sex-positive" means to have an attitude of positivity and openness and a non-judgmental mindset toward one's sexuality and the sexual behaviors of other people.

Sex positivity aims to respect other people's opinions concerning

  • sexual orientations,
  • gender identity, and
  • gender expressions.

No matter how advanced or modern the term appears, the notion of sex positivity existed in the early 1900s.

Sex positivity focuses on considering sex a beneficial and healthy part of humanity. It aims at creating an atmosphere where people of all gender identities and sexual orientations can live with freedom and respect. It also helps remove ideas of embarrassment, guilt, or judgment from the concepts of sexuality.

Sex positivity is a helpful approach to creating correct and complete information about various aspects of gender and sexuality. Having such open and unbiased discussions can help create awareness and protect, especially the youth, from getting wrong and potentially harmful information on these matters.

How do I know if I am sex-positive?

You are sex-positive if you:

  • Are comfortable talking and learning about sexual behaviors and do not consider sex as a taboo.
  • Respect gender expression, identity and presentation, and sexual preferences of people without judging them.
  • Understand and accept one's sexual orientation without guilt or embarrassment.
  • Ask questions and clear doubts about matters related to sexuality.
  • Consider sex as one of the healthy aspects of humanity and not merely a means to procreate.
  • Understand your body and your partner's body to acknowledge the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of intimacy.
  • Know the importance of safe sex practices such as using condoms and other practices for preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Understand the importance of consent for making a sexual relationship and respect if your partner does not wish to have sex.
  • Do not mock or insult people for their sexual preferences.

Do you need to be sexually active to be sex-positive?

You do not need to have sex to be a sex-positive person. Moreover, respecting the choice of not having sex is an aspect of being sex-positive.

A sex-positive person, however, must not judge others who have sex. Thus, irrespective of whether one wants to practice abstinence or involve in multiple relationships, sex positivity means not judging anyone as long as they practice consensual sex.

What does sex-negative mean?

Being "sex-negative" means considering sex an evil or a forbidden concept. It considers sex a mere means to procreate.

  • Sex-negative people may believe that those who have different sexual orientations are wrong or immoral.
  • They may believe that people from the LGBTQ+ community have some psychological issues that make them have supposedly "different and incorrect" sexual orientations.
  • They tend to mock and shame people who do not conform to their ethical or religious beliefs about sex and view people with different sexual practices as impure or unethical.

Sex negativity restricts the establishment of an inclusive world where everyone can freely express their sexual and gender orientations without any fear or judgment. It may even make people feel depressed and guilty for not being or thinking a certain way concerning sexual matters.


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Medically Reviewed on 9/13/2022
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"What Does 'Sex Positive' Mean?" Cleveland Clinic. Oct. 12, 2021. <https://health.clevelandclinic.org/sex-positive/>.