For as long as I’ve been a sex blogger, the “sex positive” phrase has been circulating in our community. Trouble is, it’s a slippery concept that’s most easily recognized by encountering its opposite: sex negative bullshit in all of its many flavors.

This morning, Emily Nagoski tweeted “I may possibly have articulated the real secret to sex positivity. What do you think?” along with this link. The link takes us to an actionable definition of her “confidence and joy” good sex mantra:

Confidence: is knowing what’s true about your body and your sexuality.

Joy: is loving what’s true about your body and your sexuality.

I believe both confidence and joy are essential, if you want a really rich sexual connection in your life. No I believe something more than that: I believe that the more we expand people’s access to sexual confidence – knowing what’s true – and sexual joy – loving what’s true – the more we prevent sexual violence and heal sexual trauma, the more we protect people from unintended pregnancy and STIs, the more we prevent and treat sexual dysfunction. Confidence and joy are public health interventions.

I think Emily has captured at least part of a working definition of sex positivity, for sure. But in the blogging community at least, sex positivity also connotes tolerance and respect for what’s true about the sexuality and bodies of other people. I doubt Emily disagrees with this; my guess is that it’s a “how much can you say in one 140 character tweet?” sort of omission.

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