In our society, sexuality is often looked at with a negative bias (see Booth1). For example, adolescents are warned about the risks of sexuality (e.g., diseases, unwanted pregnancy). While this is certainly important, it is not everything that there is to sexuality. Alternatively, sexuality is often commercialized and depicted superficially.1 Rather little is said about the potential positive and more complex aspects of sexual interactions, such as the fostering of love, or the stress-reducing and enjoyable effects of touch and intimacy with another human being.
The field of “positive sexuality” stresses the positive aspects of this life domain and encourages a constructive discussion around issues such as consent, expression of needs, and intimacy in love relationships. It encourages self-acceptance of one’s body, preferences, and expressions as long as they do not harm anyone else or oneself (including the preference not to sexually interact at all). It investigates the role of sexuality for well-being and how a harmonious type of sexuality can be fostered, for example in order to strengthen committed long-term relationships. I contend that a positive, accepting approach to sexuality can help mitigate many of the common issues associated with sexuality and body negativity.
My colleagues and I are preparing to conduct research about positive sexuality including the development of a scientifically validated questionnaire to measure sexual well-being. Moreover, you can find a chapter on “positive sexuality” by me in this book2 (currently only available in German).
1: Booth, B. K. Toward sexual well-being: A grounded theory study of the lived experience of sexuality, Widener University, (2014).
2: Ludwig, V.U. (2020): Positive Sexualität: Unser Liebesleben aus der Sicht der Wissenschaft [Positive Sexuality: A scientific perspective on our love lives]. In Helmut Fink & Rainer Rosenzweig (Eds.). Hirn im Glück – Freude, Liebe, Hoffnung im Spiegel der Neurowissenschaft [Brain in Bliss – Joy, Love, Hope as Reflected by Neuroscience] (pp. 31-45). Nuremberg: Kortizes.