By Emerson Karsh-Lombardo

Since 1988, U.S. presidents have issued annual proclamations declaring the month of March as Women’s History Month. This month is a time to celebrate women’s contributions throughout our history. Additionally, it’s a month in which women’s issues are at the forefront of the conversation. Learning about issues that affect women in a meaningful way to commemorate Women’s History Month. 

This Women’s History Month we recognize that anyone who identifies as a woman is a woman. Most importantly, the term “woman” is a socially constructed gender category so nothing makes someone a woman besides saying they are one. This month is not just for women to celebrate- it is for those who want to celebrate women. Women’s History Month is a time to actively improve the lives of women, push against gender norms, and fight for those who are negatively impacted by the patriarchy- which includes anyone who identifies outside of the construct of gender.

One way to celebrate Women’s History Month and fight against the patriarchy’s influence on gender is through sex-positivity. The sex-positive movement was born out of the need to change cultural attitudes surrounding sex, sexuality, and gender. This movement encompasses improving gender equality, sexual expression, sexual orientation, relationship design, and reproductive rights. 

Overall, the sex-positivity movement largely impacts women’s mental and sexual well-being, making it essential to acknowledge during Women’s History Month.

Here are 6 ways to celebrate a sex-positive Women’s History Month!

1) Understand the History of the Sex-Positivity Movement

One of the best ways to understand something is to learn its history. 

The sex-positivity movement came from the sexual-liberation and “free-love” movement in the 1960s. This movement heralded in a new world of openly talking about sex and sexual matters. It pushed for better representation of non-traditional marriages, increased access to contraceptives, gay liberation, legalized abortion, and women’s rights. 

The Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco was created to continue the push for sexual-liberation. They were the first to coin the term sex-positive and spread the message of the sex-positivity movement. Sadly, while they closed their doors in 2019, the sex-positivity movement continues to push forward. The movement, based creating a non-judgemental culture regarding all things sex, love, gender, orientation, is going strong today.

2) Educate Yourself on Other People’s Experiences

A huge part of the sex-positivity movement is encouraging people to be more open and accepting of all things sex, sexuality, gender, and love. A significant way to grow acceptance is through education. 

Think about what you could learn by taking some time to learn about women’s experiences other than your own this Women’s History Month. Learn about and from women who are non-monogamous, celibate, apart of the LGBTQIA community, kink practitioners, and more. 

Becoming aware of how other people live their lives helps you understand them and allows for more acceptance. In addition, learning about the various ways that someone’s sex and sexuality can be expressed may also give you a better understanding of your own interests, desires, and turn-ons. 

3) Stop Slut-Shaming!

First, slut-shaming is criticizing people, especially women, who are seen as overly promiscuous or sexual. Second, Slut-shaming fosters a culture that shames people for being sexual; Like anyone else, women should be allowed to express their sexuality and sexual selves however they please without experiencing judgment.

In “The Ethical Slut” by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy the term “slut” is defined as “a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.” (< < This is one of Rachel’s favorite definitions, by the way.) Third, every person should be able to have a relationship with sex that is satisfying, fulfilling, and pleasurable without the judgment of others. Every human deserves to be a slut in the way Easton and Hardy define the term — if they want to.  

Finally, while the term “slut” continues to be reclaimed and redefined, sex-positivity centers on the idea that a person’s value is not based on their sex lives. To create a culture that allows women to experience positive, non-judgemental sex lives, this Women’s History Month, slut-shaming should be called out and ended. 

4) “Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum!”

Yucking someone’s yum is the idea of ruining someone’s interests. Not “yucking someone else’s yum,” is the idea that everyone has the right to their interests without any judgment.

Not yucking another person’s yum is one of the core values of the sex-positivity movement. It encourages people to engage in whatever sexual activity they want to and not judge others for engaging in what they want; Even if it may not be something they are interested in doing or trying.

Not yucking someone’s yum is a phrase that encourages women to be their most authentic sexual selves. No woman should ever feel judged for their sexual interests! Less judgment = more fulfilling sex lives, and who doesn’t want that for their fellow women? 

5) Prioritize Your Pleasure 

In a culture that shames women for experiencing pleasure, it is vital to prioritize it. Women’s pleasure is something that is unfortunately not discussed within the conversation surrounding sex. Our society pushes men’s pleasure to the center of the dialogue while minimizing women’s pleasure.

To push against this narrative and create a revolution on how sex and pleasure are discussed, it is vital for women to prioritize their pleasure because it matters — women’s pleasure matters. 

Some ways to prioritize pleasure are through:

  • solo-sex
  • communicating to your partner(s)your desires and interests
  • investing in your pleasure through various toys, tools, and education
  • reconnecting with your sexual self through ways that make you feel sexy or sexual

6) Advocate For Better (More Comprehensive) Sex Education 

The way we feel about sex can be strongly influenced by our first conversations surrounding sex- most occurring during sexual education in school. Sex education that prioritizes abstinence and fear-based tactics immediately instill shame and fear around sex, which creates a ripple effect of harmful and damaging relationships with sex. 

A core aspect of Women’s History month is advocating for change that directly impacts women. Sex education that ingrains fear, shame, and judgment profoundly affects all genders and needs to be changed.

Better sex education will lead to better relationships with sex, ultimately improving women’s lives in generations to come.