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It is thought that sex positivity became popular in the late 1990s as the more palatable term for the sexual liberation that was all the rage in the 1960s. Offering a more culturally responsive umbrella term that respects human variance, it waves goodbye to the long-standing stigmas of sex being shameful and dirty.

When some people hear the term for the first time, they cut straight to thinking about polyamorous relationships or the more kinky couple who love using fetish toys for bondage, but this is not the case. It includes everything from gender identity, orientation and sex education to nudity, relationship styles, body positivity, safer sex, equity, and more.

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The sex positive movement is said to have been developed in response to concerns about patriarchal influences on cultural views. The end goal was to encourage healthy sexual expression and relationships of people of all genders, allowing us to all be our true selves and see sexual pleasure in a more positive light. Although the term is a broad one, it can cover a variety of topics which include exploring your fantasies, feeling new sensations in your body, communicating your sexual desires, body image, healthy sexual boundaries and sex education among the younger generation.

How sex positivity is benefiting modern life

Sex positivity has grown hugely in today’s culture thanks to the internet and social media. Although awareness is rising, people are still failing to see the link between themselves and sex positivity, becoming more aware of the world around them but not always accepting differences and practicing equality. The movement has been a great boost for the LGBT+ community, encouraging everyone to explore their identities and sexualities without shame. It has also benefited the adult industry, with sex toy businesses being less of a taboo and adult workers being more protected by the law as people look out for their health and safety.

Mental wellbeing is another area which has massively benefited from sex positivity, with sexuality and stigmas being a big cause of mental health problems. Many people feel ashamed of sexual desires that are perfectly healthy, but sex positivity can help a person uncover their true feelings and create a healthier relationship with their sexuality. As people are becoming more aware of pronouns and stereotyping, gestures as small as accepting people’s chosen names and using they/them pronouns can have a huge impact on how they feel within themselves, embracing their sexuality so they can approach it with confidence.

As a nation we continue to talk more openly about sex and squash the outdated taboos, learning that everyone is deserving of sexual pleasure. Self-pleasure is much more talked about nowadays as the conversation opens up about masturbation and we see endless sex toys which are designed to take solo play to the next level. As people accept their own bodies and explore their pleasure spots, we can all get to know ourselves better and communicate our sexual desires to our partners, improving sex for both parties.

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