News flash – it’s no longer taboo to talk about sex, especially among today’s younger generations. So, why not get with the program and see what everyone’s talking about these days? We had a chat with one of Hong Kong’s “intimate stylists” – who shall remain unnamed – to discuss things like sex positivity and stigmas around pleasure. Prudes, look away now…
What does being sex-positive mean? And is it always positive?
“Sex-positivity” implies that everybody must be positive about their sexuality, but it’s neglecting what somebody might have gone through in the past. When it comes to sex, one’s perspective could have been affected by their upbringing, trauma, and/or personal experience; and feelings of shame or guilt may arise.
I think the terms “inclusivity” and “acceptance” are more well-rounded. Of course, a healthy attitude towards sex can mean being open and curious in exploring one’s body; but if there is past trauma, self-exploration may not be the one answer that fits all. Acceptance and understanding would be the healthier approach here, instead of forcing oneself to be “positive” and “open”.
What are some of the major stigmas around pleasure today?
I’d say a lot of the mainstream narratives today tend to focus on female pleasure, but what I’ve learned while working here is that many men also struggle with sex-related stigmas… or shall I say, traditional gender roles and expectations.
For instance, women aren’t supposed to be too “informed” in the bedroom, but at the same time, you should display some level of knowledge in certain scenarios. Especially in a heteronormative society – a woman should not know more than her partner. This in turn puts a good amount of pressure on the man to be well-informed, and perhaps even “seasoned”.
My understanding is that a lot of heterosexual men don’t feel they can consult their friends when they have doubts in this particular aspect. They find it way too vulnerable – even when they do talk about sex, it’s in a joking manner. Women, on the other hand, seem to be more open to discussing these things with their confidantes. That’s why I would say that sexual stigma actually affects both men and women, in different ways.
What are some misunderstandings that can happen in the bedroom?
Feelings of rejection can arise when one or the other partner initiates. For example, when we are talking about new parents, there’s a lot of pressure that new fathers may feel: mentally, they might want to get it on but physically, they are too exhausted and would rather sleep – which may ultimately make the new mother feel undesired or insecure.
The truth is, getting it on doesn’t have to be the be-all-end-all. Physical intimacy can come in many different forms that don’t involve sex – even just a make-out or cuddle sesh can make a partner feel loved.