“If sex positivity were as simple as enjoying sex, there’d be a lot more sex-positive people. Alas, it’s not that easy.” – Miri Mogilevsky
Have you ever worried about how much sexual activity you were taking part in? Perhaps you’re concerned because you try to instigate sex more or less than your partner does. Maybe you feel a pressure to pursue sexual relationships or are worried about your masturbation habits.
You’re not alone. It can be exhausting to try to figure out how much you want or even need. In this article, we’re going to talk about these concerns from a sex-positive perspective. Sex positivity is the cultural attitude of being accepting of any sexual activity. So long as consent is communicated to ensure the wellbeing of the partners involved, it is considered healthy and natural.
The last time we discussed sex positivity, we looked at romantic/sexual orientation. This week, we’re going to take a look at sex drive—that is, figuring out how much you want.
PERSONAL VS CULTURAL BELIEFS
To start, it’s important to understand that being sex positive does not mean wanting sex all the time. This might be the case for some people. However, notice in the above definition that sex positivity is a cultural attitude. In other words, our society wants to understand and educate others on what safe and healthy sex looks like.
You can be supportive of others having healthy sex even if your personal attitude, or what you want for yourself, doesn’t match. You, personally, could be:
Sex-repulsed, which means you are disgusted or upset by the thought of partaking in all or particular sexual acts;
Sex indifferent, which you don’t mind sex;
Sex-favourable, which means you pursue sexual relations.
[You can read more about these attitudes here: https://www.asexuality.org/?q=attitudes.html)].
All of these personal attitudes are normal and valid—nothing is wrong with you. However, it’s understandable if you’re still concerned about whether you have too much or too little sexual activity. Let’s calm those worries by taking a look at common ways people enjoy healthy sex lives.
THINK YOU HAVE TOO LITTLE?
There are plenty of reasons why you might not want to have little to no sex.
Asexuality. People who identify as being on the asexual, or “ace” spectrum don’t experience sexual attraction. It’s a perfectly valid identity!
They can still think someone is cute or want to be romantically involved with them through companionship, cuddles, and more (you can read more about romanticism vs. sexuality in my other blog post, here).
They are indifferent or repulsed by the idea of being sexual contact with another person.
It’s a spectrum. For example, lack of attraction for some can occur only sometimes (gray-sexual) or only with someone they have a relationship with (demisexual).
You can be on the ace spectrum and still have sex for a variety of reasons! It does not invalidate your identity.
You can find out more online at the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN).
Abstinence. This is different from asexuality because people abstain still feel sexual attraction, but they’re holding back from having a partner and/or masturbation for reasons such as marriage, religion, to prevent pregnancy, and more. You can abstain and still live a happy and full life!
Low Libido. You’re sexually attracted to people, but you don’t find yourself wanting to have sex very often. Maybe you prefer masturbation to having any partners. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For some, however, it bothers them, especially when they used to have a much higher sex drive. It’s healthy and ok to talk to your doctor in these cases to find out what can be done to make you feel better.
Sex Repulsion. People could be sex-repulsed for a number of reasons. Perhaps the way you were raised, cultural influence, traumatic experience, or your identity influenced this. Or maybe it was all of the above! Being sex repulsed is not your fault—it is not a choice. You are not alone in it.
THINK YOU HAVE TOO MUCH?
High libido. You find yourself wanting to have sex more than potential partners do. Maybe your libido fluctuates to very high to very low. This is natural! If it begins to distress you, or interfere with your daily life, it’s understandable to feel concerned. This is your call—you know your body. In these circumstances, it is not shameful to consult with your doctor in order to feel stable in your body.
With (a) partner(s). Polyamory is consensual intimate relations between more than two people. If you are not interested in having just one partner, you’re not alone! There are other people who are also interested in that. With proper communication and consent, healthy sexual or romantic (or both!) relationships between more than two people are possible.
By yourself. There are plenty of reasons to not want any sexual partners. Maybe you’re not ready yet, or will never want that at all. Any reasons in between are also valid—you do not have to do anything you do not want to. If it distresses you, or interferes with your daily functioning, it can be isolating; you deserve to feel better. You can reach out to your doctor to find out what you can do.
The bottom line is that ALL sex is healthy so long as you are not harming yourself or others. If you’re gaining consent and checking in with the people involved (even just yourself!), you are practicing sex positivity. If you follow this, then there is not right or wrong amount you can have!