Sex toys enable an “exploration of sexuality”

The #sexpositive series from Ooh by Je Joue

Ooh chats to sex positive campaigner, Megan Sims, President of Sex Week at Harvard — a week dedicated to addressing a wide range of issues relating to sex, relationships, dating, sexual health, and sexuality.

What does sex positive mean to you?

To me, sex positive is all about reducing the stigma around sexual choices. It’s about affirming any and all sexual choices people make — from having any kind of sex to not having it at all. Sex positive is about creating a culture where people’s personal choices are valued more than what society says is correct. Sex is fun, and people should be able to feel good about it, not be shamed and made to feel lesser because of the choices they make.

Why do you think that sex positive is an important idea?

Sex positive is important because we live in a culture that tells people there’s a right and a wrong way to relate to sex and sexuality. This simply isn’t the case, and it’s time to shift the dialogue from one of shame to one of validation.

What changes would you like to see in the dialogue around sex?

I would love to see a dialogue in which people aren’t afraid of the words surrounding sex. I still see people in college who are uncomfortable saying things like “vagina” or “anal.” These aren’t scary words. In fact, they’re necessary for conversations people can be having about sex, sexuality, and consent. I want to see these words as part of our everyday vocabulary. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself, after all.

From your experiences as a President of Sex Week at Harvard, what are the most common questions you’ve been asked?

I often get people jokingly asking me things such as “is sex week just a week long orgy?” The truth is, people aren’t always sure what our purpose is, or why we’re necessary. When I explain, they always seem somewhat surprised. People don’t often realize that the word “sex” isn’t just about an action. There’s a lot more that goes into it, and we’re here to talk about it.

What part can sex toys play within the sex positive movement?

Sex toys provide an excellent avenue for the exploration of sexuality. When used alone, they allow for individuals to find out what they like, what feels good, how to have a better orgasm, etc. And when used with a partner, sex toys are a great means of spicing up sexual encounters. They can be super fun and provide a very unique sexual experience. There’s also a certain confidence that comes from the use of toys, from controlling your own sexuality. This confidence is extremely important in fostering sex positive feelings.

Why do you think that some people still find toys embarrassing?

I think for some people, there’s a belief that toys somehow make sex with a partner less satisfying, that there’s something wrong if you can’t orgasm from sex with a person, or if it’s better from a toy. There’s also an association of toys with masturbation, which, for women, is still highly stigmatized.

What’s the most important factor for choosing a sex toy?

In choosing a toy, I think it’s important to know what feels best to you, which naturally involves exploration of your own body. Knowing what you like can lead you to a toy that best serves that purpose. And for me, personally, I also like toys in cute colors.

How can people overcome their embarrassment around sex and sex toys?

I would tell people that, if they’re curious about sex toys, just go for it. Start with something small and simple that’s still good quality. And explore options! There’s so much out there that it shouldn’t be hard to find something that’s a perfect fit, so to speak.

Lastly, what are your five tips for a great sex life?

1 — Consent. While this seems obvious, I think it’s important to emphasize. I’ve had a partner recently who, more than anyone I’ve ever met, asks for consent consistently at every stage, every time. And to tell the truth, it’s the most empowering sex I’ve ever had. Every step of the way, I know that I am making these decisions for myself.

2 — Communication. As the next step following naturally from consent, communication is absolutely necessary for great sex. Beyond just being able to say yes, a certain comfort level in communication allows you to say what feels good, tell your partner what you like and dislike, and really be the master of your own sex life.

3 — Exploration. I like to think that in sex, what you like is what you like, and if something interests you, you should try it. Even if it seems “weird,” if you have a partner willing to explore with you, trying new things is a wonderful way to expand and improve the sex you’re having.

4 — Masturbation. In my personal view, masturbating is necessary to figuring out what feels best to you, which in turn helps you better communicate that with a partner. I read a statistic once that most women have their first orgasm from masturbation. This breaks a certain barrier, so to speak, particularly in terms of female sexuality, that ultimately leads to better sex.

5 — Saying no. While this may seem odd when talking about sex, having the strength to say no is absolutely necessary to having better sex. Whether it’s saying “no, I don’t like that” or “no, I’m done for the night” or simply “no,” being able to say no to a request is vital in having confidence and control of your sex life.

For more #sexpositive words of wisdom, visit oohjejoue.com

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