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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Positive or Negative

Recently I’ve heard more than a few discussions from people who are seeing something termed as “sex negativity” in the Poly community. Sex negativity is the idea that Poly people have become so sensitive to being labeled as promiscuous or easy that they avoid discussion of sex altogether. In conversations about their Poly lifestyle they will either avoid the topic, or overreact when the topic comes up and begin vehemently defending themselves before even being attacked, taking the position that sex has nothing to do with the poly belief system. In all fairness, I have to admit I have fallen into the mode of sex negativity, it having been pointed out to me recently. That has caused me to evaluate my behavior with the hopes of becoming more sex neutral. At the same time it has made me more sensitive to the topic of sex in general as I try to watch and learn how others deal with the topic of sexuality.
By the way, when I say "sex neutral" there shouldn't be negativity with the term. It should simply indicate someone who is neither afraid of nor determined to talk about sex.

In observing others I’ve noticed a polar opposite to sex negativity which I’m going to call sex positivity. This is the position some people are taking which seems to be “my sexuality will be in your face”. Rather than avoiding the topic as with sex negativity, they seem to want to discuss their sexuality in detail whenever possible. Being around these people results in conversations continually being turned in a sexual direction, often with completely off topic comments. When the topic of sex negativity comes up around these people, they are quick and loud with their response which is essentially; "Why should I have to hide my sexuality. It is who I am, I should be free to express it!" I have also noticed that these sex positive people seem to be starting to gel as a community or sub-community and organizing to promote sex positive events and gatherings. They even seem to be a bit cliquish and uninterested in people who aren't broadcasting their sexuality constantly.

I do think sex negativity is a problem. I know I've seen it in myself, in others I know, and in the real life as well as online poly community. My feeling is that sex negativity is the absence of sexual expression by people. Overcoming it is simply a matter of more openly expressing sexuality and overcoming the fear of being stereotyped or labeled as promiscuous.

In contrast, though I do think it is becoming just as big a problem, sex positivity is the polar opposite. It is an over abundance of sexuality rather than a void. I tend to think overcoming sex positivity requires realizing that beating someone over the head with sexuality doesn't make it right for them, nor will it prevent them from labeling you which I think is one cause of sex positivity.

I think of it this way; I'm a computer geek and if I never talked about computers nobody would know I work with them and like them. I probably wouldn't have many friends who were computer geeks. On the other hand, if all I ever talked about was computers I probably wouldn't have many friends with interests beside computers because they would all get sick of hearing about computers and avoid me. The solution in my mind is neutrality; not being afraid to talk about computers, but not talking about computers all the time.

Do you fall into the sex negative or sex positive category or are you sex neutral? Have you seen the trends I mentioned or do you think none of this is much of a problem? How do you deal with people who are sex negative or sex positive as I've explained them?

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