Think sexpositive – rethinking relationships and sexuality

This blog post continues our series on sex positivity. In the sex-positive movement, consensual behavior and rules created in consent are considered fundamental. Attention, self-awareness and reflection on one's own actions are prerequisites for this.



Know your needs and boundaries

In order to experience a fulfilling sexuality, it is important that you know your own needs and boundaries. How and where do you want to be touched? What do you want from the other person?

On the trail of your touch desires

Take a sheet of paper. Divide the paper into three columns. One column is entitled "My wishes". The second column has the heading "I'm not sure if I want this/maybe" and the last column has the heading "No Gos". Write something in each column under the appropriate heading.

On the trail of your touch desires Expand your touch horizon - four dimensions of touch
  • Shape: I touch you the way I want to.
  • Serving: I touch you the way you want me to.
  • Receiving: I am touched the way I want to be touched.
  • Allow: I allow you to touch me the way you want.

The four dimensions expand the idea of touch. We are used to thinking in two directions. Active: I give and passive: I receive. Do a quick thought experiment: what if you, as the receiver, also give? Namely the permission that you may be touched and how you may be touched. Does this make a difference? Does the thought surprise you? As the receiver, you are not passive and have to take what you get. No, the giver is dependent on your active permission. You can consciously set the framework for how you want to be touched.

Shape: I touch you the way I want to.

Shape: I touch you the way I want to. At first, this sentence sounds simple. But conversations have shown that many people find this difficult. Very often, people have experienced that they are only loved, respected, liked and appreciated when they give unconditionally. It is considered selfish to do what you enjoy. Try it out: Feel how you would like to touch your partner It's about you, what do you feel like? A massage with oil, just the feet, or the hair, with what pressure or intensity? Start and feel, is this exactly what you want to do? Pay attention when you slip back into the dimension of giving. In other words, when your thoughts start to revolve around whether your partner likes it? Then remember that this dimension of touch is about your pleasure, about you.

Serving: I touch you the way you want me to.

You ask your partner how he/she would like to be touched and put your preferences to one side. We are less practiced in asking whether you yourself are ready to give what you want right now. Ask yourself: is this what I want/can give right now? If you can say yes from the bottom of your heart, then do it. Your touch is a gift to your partner. You give for the well-being of the other person.

Receive : I am touched the way I want to be touched.

Put yourself first. Feel what you want. Don't think about what your partner would like. Only think about what you want right now. Receive with all your heart. You are allowed to receive what is good for you. This is almost frowned upon in our everyday lives. Women in particular are not very courageous in this respect, as it does not conform to conventional role models. Receiving presupposes that you know what you want. This is often difficult for many people to say. Are you one of them? Especially when it comes to sexuality, people often forbid themselves to make requests. Perhaps because they are afraid that they will not conform to current moral standards. Or because you suspect that your partner would not approve.

Allow: I allow you to touch me the way you want to.

Allowing is a form of giving. It is your gift to the other person to allow them to touch you as they wish. In this role, you may put aside what you want at the moment, but you are still responsible for your boundaries. Take time to feel what is right for you right now. Are you happy to give this permission or are you following external constraints? Do you want to please? You don't want a discussion? Do you not want to offend your partner? If your consent is hesitant, you can ask yourself:

Do I need more information to be able to say yes wholeheartedly?

Would it be a yes if you defined for yourself more precisely what you want to give?

For many people, this part of the exercise is very unfamiliar, because in everyday life the receiver usually has to take what he/she gets.

Self-knowledge - doing changes our thinking

Each of these four dimensions provides insight into ourselves. The best thing to do is to try it out. Experience is the best teacher.

Over the next few days, arrange a time with your partner to do this exercise. Observe yourself in the four different roles. Which one do you feel most comfortable in? As a giver, receiver, creator or servant? Which role is the most familiar? When do you feel insecure and why?

In the near future, take on the role that was most unfamiliar to you. Perhaps this is where your development potential lies? Why is this particular role strange? Why another, particularly close and familiar one?

Communication in sexual encounters - establishing consent

In the next blog post, we will look at the topic of communication. Good communication between two people, and especially in their sexuality, occurs when you articulate your needs and establish a consensual understanding of how you meet each other. Your consensual behavior creates the greatest possible freedom and gives you the security to experience what gives you pleasure.

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The first German-language book on the sex-positive movement is from us!

„SEXPOSITIV – Intimität und Beziehung neu verhandelt“ (2021)
buy book here

From the contents:

  • Intimacy and relationships reloaded: what does the sex-positive movement want?
  • Sex-positive awareness: an open view of yourself and the world
  • Rules beyond conventions and taboos: negotiating consensus
  • LGBTIQ, Kink, Tantra, NTSM (non-traditional sexual behaviour)
  • Open relationships and polyamory: shaping non-monogamous relationships

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Mag. Barbara Zuschnig
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Mag. Beatrix Roidinger
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