Sex Positivity: Embracing Love, Life, and Liberation


It’s always a good time for us to reflect on internalised stigma and homophobia. These are harmful feelings many LGBTQ+ individuals face due to societal prejudice, leading to self-doubt and shame about our sexuality or identity.

These internal struggles can affect mental health, causing anxiety and depression. Overcoming them is crucial for self-acceptance and living authentically.

Pride and sex positivity go hand in hand, both celebrating the right to love and express oneself freely. Pride emphasises that all consensual sex and identities are valid and beautiful while sex positivity embraces and promotes openness about the diversity of sexual expression and all of its nuances, free of shame or judgment.

Together, they create a supportive environment where LGBTQ+ individuals can thrive, fostering a culture of respect, empowerment, and joy.

Understanding sex positivity:

Shaking Off the Chains

South Africa has come a long way in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, but the journey is far from over. From the historic decriminalisation of homosexuality and the legalisation of same-sex marriage to the ongoing battles for equality, we’ve fought hard for the right to love openly and authentically. Sex positivity is a continuation of this fight. It’s about claiming our space, our bodies, and our right to enjoy sex without judgment or shame.

Think Lady Gaga, meat dress, at the 2010 VMAs—bold, unapologetic, and gag-worthy. Sex positivity empowers us to stand tall and say, “Yes, I enjoy sex, and your problem is what?”

Bye-Bye, Haters

Let’s get real for a second. Many of us grew up in environments that weren’t exactly cheering us on from the sidelines when it came to sex. Whether it was hearing homophobic slurs or having to check yourself to ‘act straight’, internalised shame can have very destructive consequences.

Sex positivity teaches us to unlearn the negative messages we’ve absorbed. It’s about embracing our desires and understanding that they’re natural.

Love is Love is Love

It’s easy to forget that Pride is more than just a celebration or activism; it’s also about personal liberation. Being sex-positive is part of this liberation. It’s about rejecting the idea that our sexuality is something to be hidden or ashamed of. When we embrace sex positivity, we’re saying that our love and our sex lives are just as valid and beautiful as anyone else’s. And honey, that’s a message worth sharing!

Let’s Talk About Sex

Cue Salt-N-Pepa! Normalising conversations about sex is crucial for our community. It helps us make informed decisions, reduces stigma, and promotes sexual health. Whether it’s chatting with your friends about your latest Grindr date or discussing PrEP with your healthcare provider, talking openly about sex is a game-changer.

By normalising these conversations, we’re not just promoting health; we’re also fostering a sense of community. It’s like the ultimate kiki—fun, supportive, and oh-so-necessary.

Sex Positivity vs. Slut Shaming

Slut shaming, the practice of criticising or mocking someone’s sexual behaviour, is a nasty foe that sex positivity helps combat. It perpetuates harmful stereotypes and creates a culture of shame around sex, suggesting there’s a “right” and “wrong” way to express sexuality. But there’s no one right way to be sexual; whether you have one partner or many, your choices are valid!

Knowledge is Power

Being sex-positive means being proactive about our sexual health. It means regular STI testing, using protection, and staying informed about important sexual health topics like PrEP, U=U, STIs and PEP. Think of it as giving yourself the royal treatment—you deserve to feel fabulous and safe.

Remember, knowing your status and taking care of your health isn’t just about you; it’s about protecting your partners too. It’s the ultimate act of love and respect. So, channel your inner Oprah and make those health appointments happen. “You get tested, and you get tested, everybody gets tested!”

Spread the Love: Share the Positivity

So, let’s keep the positivity flowing. Share your journey, support your friends, and stand up against stigma. Whether you’re posting a cute selfie with a caption about sex positivity or joining a local advocacy group, every action counts.


Article courtesy of Engage Men’s Health, which offers free PrEP, ARVs, HIV management and other friendly and confidential sexual health services in Joburg, NMB, and Buffalo City for gay, bi, and other men who have sex with men. For more info or to make an appointment visit or call/WhatsApp 082 607 1686.

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