Positive Sexuality

For Alchemy 2010, I’m running a theme camp called Fucking Awesome that’s centered around positive sexuality. We’re planning for everything from sex education classes to open orgies. I know a lot of people who do work to help bring a more positive view of sexuality to the people around them. Sometimes it seems like a lot of progress has been made, and sometimes it seems like sex will always be a dirty little secret in this culture. I wondered, How will we know when sex is actually viewed, culture-wide, as a positive thing? What will it look like? What will be different about our everyday lives?

I can think of lots of big answers, of course:

  • Parents will talk to their children openly and comfortably about sex, and children will get positive, truthful, joyful information about sex from a variety of sources.
  • Homosexuality will not be seen as criminal, immoral, or something that should be hidden or denied. No one will worry about losing their job, their kids, or their life for the gender of their sexual partners.
  • STD information will be widespread and accurate. Treatments will be researched and widely available. People with STDs will not face scorn.
  • All kinds of people will be portrayed in the media as sexual beings, including elderly, disabled, and fat people.
  • Polyamory will not be seen as criminal, immoral, or something that should be hidden or denied.
  • How many sexual partners a person has had or not had will not be seen as a marker of their virtue.

Today, though, I’m thinking about a little-bitty effect: seeing people in public being sexual with one another. Now, I don’t mean fucking on the streets. And I don’t mean the very narrow views of sexuality that scream from billboards and magazines. I simply mean everyday people, going about their everyday lives, expressing sexual feelings towards one another.

When I attend burns, I frequently see or hear people interacting sexually in some way. Maybe it’s sex noises carrying out from someone’s tent. Maybe it’s just a couple making out. Maybe it’s people cuddling together on a couch, but in an active way that’s just short of making out. Maybe it’s flirting. Maybe it’s just the not-really-sexual, yet intimate touch of foot rubs and shoulder massages.

Out in “regular” public, there’s none of this, of course. Sexuality in public is relegated to bars. I’m not going to see people making out at a restaurant. No one grabs their partner’s ass in the grocery store. You don’t see coworkers offering each other foot rubs.

Why is that, exactly?

One thing you might say is, “I just don’t feel flirty when I’m grocery shopping.” Why is that, though? We’ve effectively sectioned off sexuality as private. Some parts of our lives are for sex and some parts aren’t. I’m not sure that’s the best way, though. We are sexual beings all the time, and I wish we could express that more.

When I’m at a burn, I love seeing people in various stages of intimacy with one another, and it’s truly a happy sight. I guess I just wish there was a little more of that freedom and joy in everyday life.