sex-positivity for virgins

November 18, 2010

You don’t ever have to engage in any kind of sexual activity unless you genuinely want to. No, really, I mean it. Really, really skeeved out at the thought of masturbation? Don’t do it. Not comfortable with giving (or receiving) oral sex? You don’t have to. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t worth your time or energy, and also might possibly be very bad news, and if someone is pressuring you into sexual activity then you should have a very serious talk with them about boundaries and choice or perhaps you should sever contact altogether or maybe you should seek help from a Trusted Adult™.

But I digress.

You do have to acknowledge- out loud as well as in your head- that engaging or not engaging in sexual activity of any kind makes you no better nor worse than anyone else on the planet. Sex is like food: it’s not a moral issue. There are lots of different varieties, and everybody has their own tastes and preferences, and we don’t necessarily know why people like what they like. You can have as much or as little of whatever kinds of sex you choose, and so can everyone else, and that’s fantastic.

You do have to fight slut-shaming. When your friend says a girl is “such a skank”, you have to tell her (or him) that it’s wrong to say that about another human being. It’s sexist, it’s judgmental, and it is also unnecessarily cruel. It’s good policy to avoid unnecessary cruelty. Remember middle school? Wouldn’t it have been better if every person there consciously avoided cruelty? The same principle applies in the real world. (Or, umm, college. Speaking of which: the phrase “walk of shame” needs to go away forever.)

You do have to defend non-mainstream-monogamous-het-vanilla sexual practices. Does someone say bigoted things about LGBTQ people? Call them on it. Is your best friend speechifying about how freaky and weird and gross and just wrong BDSM is? Yup, you guessed it- tell her she is talking out of her ass and that just because she personally has no interest in, say, flogging or Wartenberg wheels or what have you, that doesn’t mean other people’s enthusiasm for those items and/or activities aren’t totally valid. (Maybe when that happens to you in real life you will manage to spit it out unmired in a bog of awkward syntax and too many negatives. If so, you are a far more courageous and articulate person than I.) And when people express prejudice of poly folk, you know the drill.

This isn’t the Girl Scouts; you don’t get the badge for one-time participation. If you’re going to call yourself sex-positive, you’ve got to commit. Sometimes that means fighting. If this is something you want- if you want everyone, regardless of gender or sex or orientation or kinks or what have you, to be free to choose their sexual activities or lack thereof without guilt or shame, and if you want each and every possible choice to be considered equally valid-

you have to fight.

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