If you’re in a relationship, hopefully, you already communicate effectively. But have you considered whether or not you have a sex and body-positive relationship? These terms are relatively new and they may not be a part of your sex and relationship vocabulary yet. If not, let’s look at it more closely.
What does it mean to be sex and body positive?
Sex-positive means having an open, tolerant, or progressive attitude towards sex and sexuality. Religion, cultural ideals, attitudes and traditions may prevent sex positivity and open dialogues about sex.
Body positivity is just what it sounds like: acceptance and a positive attitude towards all bodies, regardless of size, shape, or ability. A major belief of body positivity includes accepting your body as it is right now, regardless of how it changes in the future.
Depending on how you and your partner were each raised, you may have very different ideas about sex and body positivity in relationships. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you can figure it out together.
Check out a few ways to make your relationship more sex and body-positive.
Find common language
How do you speak about your body? How does your partner speak about theirs? Finding common language to describe and talk about your bodies is important for smooth sexual communication. Importantly, it also gives you a chance to talk about which terms you’re comfortable with.
The intimacy of a relationship sometimes means people take emotional liberties. For example, when you lovingly teasing your partner about their weight. You might not mean any harm, but if it’s hurtful, it’s not helpful. Therefore, finding common language you both agree on and consent to is essential to make any relationship more sex and body positive.
Consent is not just for strangers and new partners. Consent in relationships needs to be respected and acknowledged as readily as in any other situation. Informed, enthusiastic, ongoing consent is essential. Talk through which intimate or sexual acts and situations require explicit consent or if implied consent is enough.
Talk about your attraction to each other
Attraction is a very fluid and personal thing and isn’t just about liking the look of someone. Attraction can be influenced by many factors. What attracts you to your partner, or what you base it on, may not be the same as their attraction to you. And that’s okay! Using the common language you gain, express your attraction in a generous, giving way.
Talk openly about sexual identity and gender
Do you know how your partner defines their sexual identity and gender? Are you sure? Have you shared your self-identity with them? Being sex-positive means understanding that sexuality changes over time.
Instead of feeling insecure about your partner’s self-identity, ask yourself if that definition changes anything fundamental about them. It’s okay to be confused or unsure, but it’s not okay to be cruel, to call names, or to be dismissive. Stay curious and open, and if it’s a lot to take in, work through it with compassion. You both deserve compassion and understanding about who you are.
Talk about outside attractions and share fantasies
Feeling attraction to people outside your relationship is totally normal and does not have to be a threat to what you have together. A fun and easy way to get the conversation started is to share celebrity crushes. Who knows, you might even be hot for the same people!
Exchanging fantasies can be a great way to incorporate sex and body positivity in your relationship. Importantly, you both must remember that fantasies are just that: fiction. It’s okay to fantasize about things you’d never do, and, likewise, it’s okay to want to explore those fantasies, too.
Get more comfortable with non-sexual nudity
Romantic comedies want us to believe that no one gets out of bed without taking half the bedding with them, for fear of being seen by their partner in a non-sexual moment. Bedhead and morning breath aside, this simply isn’t realistic. Your bodies are not simply sexual props for each other. Commit to becoming more comfortable with seeing and being seen by one another.
Focus on non-sexual intimacy
Intimacy is not just about sex. Acts of intimacy include hand-holding, eye gazing, cuddling, talking, sharing important memories, making inside jokes, finding the perfect nicknames for each other. If either of you considers non-sexual intimacy unnecessary, you need to rethink that. Imagine how much better sex might be if you knew more about your partner and what’s important to them, what makes them tick, and what makes them happy. Imagine if they knew that about you …
No matter how you slice it, communication means everything in relationships. Above all, the way you communicate important topics like sex and body image impacts the comfort and trust you share. Being mindful of sex and body positivity only helps your relationship and reduce misunderstandings.
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