Many clients come to therapy seeking help for relationship issues and that often leads to some discussion around physical intimacy and sex. Therapy needs to be sex positive – but what does that actually mean?
What being sex-positive means
Generally, being sex positive means that a person validates and has an awareness or appreciation for the varied experiences of people and their relationship to sexual intimacy. Rather than advocating for any particular way of engaging sexually, being sex positive means validating each person’s right to define for themselves whether or not they want to have sex and how they want that to manifest in their relationships.
It can also mean giving yourself permission to enjoy sexuality in the ways that feel right for you (and your partners).
The International Society for Sexual Medicine also has a great definition of what it means to be sex positive.
Being sex positive isn’t necessarily about having a healthy dose of enthusiasm for sex (although that can be one component), but it is more so about adopting a perspective that is affirming of diverse and individual forms of sex and sexuality. That is, where traditional notions of sexuality aim to control sexual behavior through shame, judgment and perhaps guilt, being sex positive means operating from a more open perspective. Being sex positive means affirming an individual’s right to enjoy the kind of sex they’re having, who they’re having it with and at what frequency works for them. That is, as long as that sex is between consenting adults (legally, ethically and morally).
Therapy can be sex positive
If you are looking for therapy that is sex positive you will want a provider who is 1) open to discussing this part of relationships in session, and 2) openly affirms and validates your desires. Instead of inducing shame, sex positive therapy is about helping clients get the most out of their sex lives while minimizing any concerns or negative consequences. Often, this includes helping couples figure out ways to rekindle their sexual lives in couples therapy and helping individuals become more comfortable in owning their desires and attractions.
Many of us have been taught that sex and sexuality are things that we should feel shame about. There are so many voices that tell us how we should be and how we shouldn’t be when it comes to our sexualities. Sex positivity is about reducing that shame and stigma so that whether you are highly sexual or asexual, you find the best way to make your sexuality work for you.
At Viva our team is dedicated to help clients improve every aspect of their lives, including sexuality. We are affirming of a range of sexual identities and want to support you. Check out our services page to learn more about our work or submit an appointment request now (available in the following states: California, New York and Pennsylvania).