Sex-Positivity Round Robin: The New Sex-Negatives

If you missed the previous installments in this series, check them out here.

Today’s exploration of sex-positivity comes from the fabulous Susie Bright.

Carol, my heart skipped  when you related the story of the “sex-negative” girl who had to announce herself to put you in your place. I have met her “sister,” “aunt,” and “cousin” on similar occasions.


When I hear snark like that, I feel like the language of our culture, and feminism in particular, has shifted beneath my feet. Andrea Dworkin would never have called herself “sex-negative”– what are these new-generation critics talking about?   It seems to be a sarcastic comment, an exasperation on “sex-positivity,” whatever that means.

From the earliest days of  19th century sexual liberation and feminism, there has never been a leader or philosopher who promoted a “quantity” of free love over a quality of thinking. That’s the puritan’s stereotype, not the reality. We’ve never been about counting notches.

When I first worked at Good Vibrations, in 1981, there were only three of us on staff:  owner Joani Blank, Susan, and myself. One spring, we had a private joke that we were sadly single and date-less– a condition our customers would have been surprised to hear. Eventually, our drought ended, but the point was, our creative, activist, and critical minds were as active and erotic as ever, whether we were getting laid or not.

If I never fuck again, I will be “sex-positive.” Sexual insight and inspiration live inside of me, irrespective of orgasm deliveries or partner credentials. It’s intrinsic to my vitality and thinking process.

Because Madison Avenue and Hollywood exploited sexual liberation to such an immature effect, many people have no idea as to the original point.

We are often attacked by critics who see us as demanding some kind of sexual competition, a race for orgasms or toy collections, who’s the best in bed, the wildest, the weirdest.

But Sexual liberation has ALWAYS meant, first and foremost, liberation from the status quo, from capitalist striving, the nuclear family, and bourgeois appearances… I refuse the revisionism of the know-nothings.  I will refer them to read the wikipedia page on the history of the Free Love movement:

We aren’t not crazy\’ or even horny at random moments. I didn’t dedicate my life to this movement to “sell” something. Sexual self-awareness is good for thinking and thinking is good for sex… anyone who revels in the label of the “sex-negative” is unwittingly committing themselves to an abyss of ignorance and bondage— not the fun kind.

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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