The past few months I´ve been thinking a lot about the sex-positive community in Germany. What do we actually mean when we say “sex-positive”? Who are “we”?
There seem to be different mindsets that have slightly different values and visions. This is due to the history of the sex-positive movement, which brought about different understandings of the term. It is also the consequence of a differentiation within the sex-positive movement today. So far, we don´t even really have labels for those sub-groups, or at least they are not widely used.
Based on a presentation I have prepared with Alexander Horscroft for the Xplore 2020 as well as two inspiring texts by Beata Absalon (sex-moralistic, sex-negative, sex-positive) and Anna Mense (mainstream, alternative, experimental sex-positivity; unpublished), I have collected some thoughts on the issue.
I believe that in order to create a strong sex-positive vision, we need to understand where we´re coming from as well as what is happening within our sexual culture at the moment. That is quite an undertaking, though. My musings are not meant to be a precise analysis; they are neither complete nor thorough. So, please forgive my numerous oversimplifications. Also keep in mind that the map is not the territory – this is not an accurate description of reality, but one possible way of differentiation, hopefully providing a starting point for further discussion.
Disclaimer: I am being critical here and sometimes intentionally sharp in tone. This does not mean I am being spiteful (I am probably guilty of every single thing I´m picking at, by the way). It is essential to be able to disagree with one another while pursuing a common project, like creating a better sexual culture.
Before we get to the history of sex-positive culture, let´s start with who we´re certainly not…
Sex- Negative I (sex-moralistic, anti-sexual)
“What may I want?”
Moral judgment; assessment of natural=healthy=right=good sex and unnatural=dangerous=wrong=bad sex; stigma, shame & guilt; insists on binary of gender
Heterosexual marriage and family