How sex-positivity can leave asexuals behind
While the sex-positivity movement can benefit women and the LGBTQ2S+ community, it still struggles to accept a lack of sexual desire as normal.
Sex-positivity can be best understood as a social and philosophical movement that seeks to change cultural attitudes and norms around sexuality. It respects all consensual sexual activities, recognizing that there is no one “right” way to express desire.
From this definition, it is clear that sex-positivity plays an important role in promoting the recognition of sexuality as a natural and healthy part of being. On the surface, this has a multitude of benefits for individuals who identify as LGBTQ2S+, as it opens the space for acceptance and promotion toward the nature and fluidity of sexuality.
However, in looking at the social context and the broader impact of sex-positivity, asexuality is left behind and does not benefit from the movement. Asexuality is characterized as a lack of sexual attraction to others. In some cases, it includes people who have low or no interest in sex or desire for sexual activity.
Despite sex-positivity’s numerous benefits, one criticism of the movement is that it emphasizes that sex is a good thing for everyone. Lacking sexual desire or interest in sex must mean that something is wrong. In relationships, where sex may be a requirement, those with low desire are seen as broken, and thus, need to fix themselves.
While the sex-positivity movement has good intentions, there are aspects of sexuality and certain people it overlooks. This calls for individuals to analyze the social and philosophical movement of sex-positivity to be more inclusive and carry these efforts forward toward a future movement that is more understanding and impactful for all.
There’s absolutely room for asexuality within the sex-positive movement. Sex positivity isn’t just “all sex is good all the time.” Consent, personal comfort, and individual boundaries are vital for any sexuality, including asexuality. The “acceptance and promotion toward the nature and fluidity of sexuality” inherently requires acknowledging that those comfort levels and boundaries will vary.
Sex positivity is about the freedom to explore and express one’s own individual needs, desires, and boundaries (without causing harm to oneself or others). That includes the freedom to sum up those desires as a simple, “No, thank you.”
Can individuals who see themselves as sex positive “leave asexuals behind?” Sure, just as much as individuals who aren’t sex positive can do the same. That’s a failing of those individuals (and other cultural and historical trends), not of the movement as a whole.