Why sex positivity isn’t just for women

If you read my first piece about sex positivity here on HelloGiggles, then you know that mindfulness and sexuality go hand in hand, and that taking advantage of your friendly neighborhood sex shops can be a great start to embracing sex positivity.

These days, I find myself talking about sex a lot. Sometimes, I’m talking about other people’s sex lives even more than my own — which either means I’m overly curious or that this is my higher calling. In my IRL and digital conversations, I continue to promote the idea of sex positivity, or the completely unheard of and absolutely radical notion that sex should be pleasurable, positive, and consensual between all parties involved. (See, not really radical at all.)

I’ve made it a personal goal to try and attend at least one sex positivity workshop a month, and I recently attended my third workshop on oral sex. There were actual lollipops involved, and if you’re thinking that sitting in a room full of older strangers whilst practicing the tongue tango on a cotton candy flavored lollipop would be weird, well, you are correct. Doesn’t mean it didn’t warm my sexually curious heart, though.

But I found that the most uncomfortable aspect of the class had less to do with adults giggling over anatomically correct names like “frenulum” — and more to do with the fact that the class consisted of 98% women.

There were all of two men in the room, with their assumed romantic partners.

*Insert quizzical blinking gif here*

Oral sex preferences have long been a hot topic. I was proud to be present as a member of the “I like giving and receiving” club in a room full of mostly women. It was powerful to see that — despite what popular media or patriarchal banter has told us — women are breaking down the stigma that to enjoy giving oral sex makes one a Jezebel…or lady of the night…or any other name an old-fashioned grandmother might use to shame female promiscuity.

Surprisingly, my most pressing question after the workshop was not “Why didn’t I know that the clitoris extends further into the female body than previously thought?” (But seriously, why didn’t I know our bodies had that kind of power?)

My biggest question was this: Where were all of the men?

The class may have given off heteronormative vibes, but the group consisted of all gender identities and sexualities. So, to see very few men there (other than the two who might have been dragged there kicking and screaming) was alarming.

Could it be that, in 2017, when women are reclaiming their sexual time and taking notes on how to be better sexual partners, men (of any sexuality) still haven’t boarded the sex positivity train?

I think the answer is yes.

While it has long been tradition for society and terrible porn to reaffirm the problematic falsehood that sexual pleasure is one-sided and women must be sexual jacks-of-all-trades, all men can participate in and benefit from sex positivity. Attending sex positivity workshops doesn’t mean that you are a novice in the bedroom, although being a novice is okay, too!

Mainstream depictions of sex — and even the rhetoric that many of us use in our own sexual encounters — puts the weight of sexual knowledge on the shoulders of men, leaving little room for men to admit that they could stand to learn something new or improve upon old tricks.

But the beautiful thing about sex positivity is that no one partner is tasked with creating a grand finale on their own. Practicing mindfulness often puts the focus on the connection, not the climax.

So, for all of my male-identifying folks out there, if your partner asks you to go to a sex workshop, it might be less about what is lacking and more about exploring new possibilities.

This sex positive education can lead to less pressure about performance, and finally start to overhaul many of the toxic ideas men and women have long been told about their bodies and sexuality. If it leads to healthier sex lives all around, then it’s about time that men joined the conversation…and the workshops.

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