The term "sex positive" is used to describe an attitude towards sex that's well, positive, and judgment-free. Contrary to what you might think, being sex positive doesn't necessarily mean you're kinky AF (although you can be), but is more of an umbrella term used to describe an open attitude when it comes to all things sexual.
"Sex-positivity can be defined in many different ways but generally refers to an attitude and approach to sex that prioritizes personal agency and preferences and minimizes moral judgments," says Jess O'Reilly, PhD, and resident sexologist for Astroglide.
One of the most important factors about sex-positivity is the idea that sex can be used for pleasure and not just procreation, explains Robert Thomas, a sexologist and co-founder of Sextopedia.
Another important aspect of sex-positivity is the ability to talk freely about sex, without shame or judgment towards yourself or others. "Sex positivity views sex as one of the best things in life and doesn't demonize it in any way or attempt to make anyone feel guilty for their urges and desires," explains Alex Miller, sexologist at Orchid Toys. A sex-positive person doesn't judge others for their sexual desires or fetishes, and instead keeps an open mind.
And yes, you can be totally sex-positive if you identify as vanilla and personally don't engage in kinky sex. "You, or other adults around you, can choose if, when, how, and with whom they want to have sex, and not be judged about their decisions," adds Thomas. As long as you're not judging other people for their proclivities between consenting adults, you're sex-positive.
You can also be sex-positive without even having had sex, says O'Reilly. As long as you acknowledge that sexuality evolves and exists on a spectrum. This spectrum can include anything ranging from consensual non-monogamy to abstinence and everything in between.
It might also help to think of sex-positivity as similar to freedom of speech. Someone who believes in freedom of speech may not personally hold every contentious opinion in the land, but their underlying belief that others should be able to have clashing opinions or beliefs that don't align with theirs is key.
"The sex positivity movement is very closely related to the sentiment of Voltaire...'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,'" adds Tami Rose, owner of Romantic Adventures.
Translated for a sex-positive crowd, their version would be something like: "I may not enjoy what you do, but as long as it is going on between consenting adults and is not damaging or endangering anyone… rock on," explains Rose.
In short, think of sex-positivity as the celebration of freedom of choice, as O'Reilly calls it. Being sex-positive is an attitude that embraces personal agency and choice and respects the sexual decisions made between consenting adults.