We’ve received messages about sex, sexuality, gender, binaries, and bodies since we were born. We internalize messages from our parents or caregivers, our friends and peers, and the media. We learn to value certain things and shame other things, and a lot of it happens without us really realizing it. Any bad habits we might have (judgments, hate, shame) have been learned, which sounds like bad news, but it’s actually positive - it means we can unlearn.
We’re not going to tell you it’s easy. Especially if you’re LGBTQ+, or racialized, or dis/abled, or facing marginalization or oppression in various intersecting ways - it takes a lot of courage and support and self-love to get past the crappy narratives and social scripts that exist. This is why we want a community of people challenging and dismantling harmful systems and replacing them with sex-positive, queer-positive, pleasure-positive collaboratives.
We can unlearn the harmful and hurtful ways we think and talk and feel about sex, sexuality, gender, binaries, and bodies, but first we must become aware. From there, we can create new social scripts to make the hard things easier and the awkward things commonplace. Things like:
- Introducing ourselves to new people with our pronouns and asking for theirs (ie. not making assumptions about a person’s gender identity based on their appearance).
- Offering a choice of greeting and goodbye: hug, handshake, or wave (ie. respecting that people have different comfort and boundaries around touch).
- Feeling good about saying and hearing “yes,” and saying and hearing “no” (ie. separating our ego from other folks’ needs, and hearing “no” with gratitude instead of the sting of rejection).
- Feeling comfortable asking new partners to go get tested together and/or to use safer sex practices (ie. mutual responsibility for safer sex, normalizing STI status).
- Feeling comfortable disclosing our STI status to our partner(s) (ie. not shaming people for having STIs, eliminating stigma around STIs).
- Communication before, during, and after sex (ie. opening up dialogue to prioritize consent, pleasure, and comfort).