In the dawn of the 21st century, we like to feel that we’ve evolved. We’re more tolerant and accepting about almost everything. We try honor other people’s choices and identities, see others as equals and generally try to be more open and progressive. It’s easy to be accepting of other people’s preferences when those preferences don’t intrude on us or affect us personally. When it’s just a friend, a celebrity or a stranger, it’s much easier to be understanding and not to judge. “Live and let live,” we’ll say. However, we don’t always extend that courtesy to ourselves and those closest to us.
Depending on our upbringing and personal experiences, we may have certain hangups or insecurities; often, we project those onto our most intimate encounters. The key to having a sex positive relationship is to move past discomfort toward intimacy and complete acceptance, both of yourself and your partner. Sex positivity isn’t merely about saying yes to sex or seeing how kinky you can get. It’s about seeing sexual interaction as a healthy and normal part of the human experience, and realizing that how each of us experiences it is different and unique. Transferring that into your relationships is about bringing your unique and their unique into sync on a deeper level.
3 Keys to a Sex-Positive Mindset
Believe it or not, there are still many of us who consider some things taboo or dirty. We may be willing to experiment with strangers, but we would never ask our partner to partake without feeling some kind of way; sometimes the reaction can be even stronger if they agree to it than it would be if they were to say “Ewww, really?”. Conversely, we may not know how to react to some of their fantasies or fetishes.
Fear, or any kind of negativity, almost always comes from a lack of understanding; we all fear the unknown or unfamiliar to some degree. Self-education means both finding a way to bring your partner into your little world without freaking them out and understanding their preferences without judgment. Is one of you disgusted by the thought of anal? Research it. You may be surprised to find that you love something you never thought you’d consider.
Poor communication is the downfall of many relationships, whether you’re nursing an unspoken grudge about someone’s annoying habits or putting on a front about your level of sexual satisfaction. Many is the woman who has faked an orgasm rather than just telling her partner what she wants, and many is the man who looked elsewhere rather than finding a way to say they need something different or more. Little do either of these people know that their partner may be waiting to hear what she likes or is also testing other waters because they need something different or more exciting.
Remember, your partner is not psychic. Open communication is difficult, even uncomfortable at first, but it is a lot less stressful than the alternative. Learning how to communicate openly may be especially difficult if you were raised in an environment where talking about sex was taboo or if your trust has been violated in a previous relationship. Opening up takes practice, but it gets easier as your confidence increases. Start small and allow openness to grow organically, but do make the effort.
Sex is the ultimate form of intimacy, but it isn’t the only one. Baring your soul and telling your desires to someone freely and without fear is to truly be naked before them. Having that ability means that you must trust the other person enough to show them who you really are. In return, your partner must feel that they can trust you with their vulnerability. That also means that consent is paramount before trying anything new, and that both of you know and can enforce your boundaries without fear. Coercion or passive-aggressive behavior have no place in a modern, positive sexual relationship.
Before you can enter into any kind of co-equal, positive sexual experience, you must love and respect yourself first. Many of us modern, forward-thinking 21st century progressives have lost something that guided our ancestors for centuries: intuition. Take the time to know yourself, to explore who you are and feel confident about it, and become fearless about following your gut. That kind of self-awareness exudes a kind of positivity that goes way beyond sexual charisma or confidence to the essence of who you are.
This is a contributed post.