Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA) has served the community since 1972 as the only sexual violence resource center serving Boulder County, Colorado.


Embracing Sex-Positivity

In the United States talking about sex in public spaces is generally considered taboo. Especially in childhood, sex is something we are told is bad or is not discussed at all. Yet, when we turn on the TV or computer, sex is rampant. We can easily consume sexual content in the privacy of our homes but rarely discuss it with others, leaving many of us feeling at odds with our sex lives. In other words, the sex we see on TV is not usually the sex we are having.

Sexual content in the media is scripted and performed by actors. It is a performance that discounts important parts of a real sexual encounter, including conversations about likes/dislikes, boundaries, consent, etc. Because these moments are rarely shown in media, we do not have a blueprint to follow.

What if we took a step back to explore the types of sexual experiences we want to be having, rather than letting media dictate the type of sex we should be having? Sex-positivity is the idea that people can be free to explore their gender and sexuality without shame or judgment. Sex-positivity embraces enthusiastic consent, clear communication, and respect in people’s sexual encounters with a focus on pleasure for all. Sex is more than a simple yes or no, to truly be sex-positive, sexual encounters are built on conversations focused on connection, mutual pleasure, and having fun. This includes discarding feelings of guilt and shame about not wanting or having sex. Being sex-positive can help you feel healthier, happier, and improve your overall sense of well-being.


Steps that you can take in becoming sex-positive:

  • Embrace your sexuality. Reflect on how you identify and express yourself and who you are attracted to.
  • Let go of being perfect. You do not have to be a Victoria Secret model to have good sex.
  • Talk with those you trust about sex to get advice and ask questions.
  • Allow yourself to explore what is pleasurable through masturbation or with partner(s).
  • Ensure that consent and clear communication are a part of every sexual interaction with your partner(s).
  • Focus on pleasure and connecting rather than completion of an orgasm.


Natalie Henderson
Prevention Education Specialist
Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA)