Let’s face it, sex has a bad rap. It’s cited as nothing short of the root of all evil by many religions- our sexual desire being held responsible for our fall from grace. Thinly veiled snake references and mass misogyny have left our sub consciouses seething with guilt and self hatred at our lack of self control. Our culture is the classic result of sex negativity, so predictable you could laugh if it wasn’t do damned tragic. Little girls are given padded bras and high heels before they reach puberty. An alarming amount of ‘celibate’ holy men are found to be relieving their frustrations with children. Our pornography is exploitative, cliched, formulaic and pervasive, earning billions of dollars for a small elite of people who don’t even remember what’s sexy anymore. Sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies rise unchecked because of archaic sex eduction which supports abstinence from sex as the only form of protection. Our hampered judicial system considers rape victims to be ‘accusers’ and forces them to prove their innocence in a demoralizing process of public interrogation. Young people discovering themselves to be trans gender or homosexual risk ostracizing themselves from their families and friends by even mentioning it, staying ‘in the closet’ and suppressing their truth. According to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual classmates. I could go on, but this is getting depressing.

Wilhelm Reich, the Austrian-American psychoanalyst of the mid 20th Century responsible for coining the phrases ‘Sex Negative’ and ‘Sex Positive’ stated “some societies accept the inherent value of sexual expression and indeed insist on it as a prerequisite of mental health, while other human groups despise sexuality and are ceaselessly inventive in devising austerities and prohibitions as a means of social control.”  The level of sex negativity in our culture is more than just unhealthy- it’s psychotic.

We have had the incredible good fortune to land ourselves in these amazing bodies which can bring us such great pleasure, I couldn’t imagine for a minute that was a mistake, or some kind of cruel test. If there is some sort of omnipotent being watching over us, I don’t believe that s/he would be so petty as to give us these bodies but deny us the pleasure that spills from them so easily. It’s totally illogical. Let me clarify for a moment that I am not a free love idealist, believing that we should all have sex with each other all the time like bonoebos. Sex is intimate and precious, and just as you would with any relationship, you should create standards and boundaries that work for you. If there is a scale with abstinence at one end and promiscuousness at the other, it’s up to each of us to discover what works for us, and changing or adapting to new circumstances- none of the places on that scale are right or wrong.

It is true that sex can bring things up for us that can be scary, particularly as we have been raised in such sex negative culture and so many people are survivors of abuse. We store a lot of pent up frustrations, phobias, and hang ups in our sexuality, and facing that can be intimidating. Like a super charged microcosm of our personality, if it’s approached with awareness, sex can be a button we can push for a fast track of personal growth. I firmly believe that one night exploring a sex positive environment like Kinky Salon can replace years of therapy. With that said, there can also be some pretty intense side effects. While your experience might have opened something up in you, brought up forgotten memories, or made you face something important, how that effects you afterwards is just as important. It can be easy to retreat back into shame, self hatred or just old fashioned confusion. This is why it’s important to have a ‘sex positive community’ rather than just a ‘sex positive party’. Creating a supportive and loving community is an essential part of the equation. We need to be there for each other.

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