By “sex-negative culture,” I mean a culture that values the lives, bodies, and pleasure of men (and in particular white, middle or upper-class, heterosexual men without disabilities) above those of women and transgendered people, and promotes shame about sexual desire, particularly female or queer desire. Sex-negative culture teaches us that pleasure is sinful and provides us with a narrow scripts for appropriate sexual encounters. Conversely, a sex-positive culture would use the presence of consent as the only requirement for acceptable sexual encounters and encourage the interrogation of or playing with power and control.

Sex-negativity teaches us that sex is not to be spoken of. This directly shapes the aftermath of sexual assault, in which survivors are shamed and discouraged from talking openly about their experience. Rape is not taboo because it is violence; it is taboo because sex is the weapon of violence.

Lee Jacobs Riggs, “A Love Letter from an Anti-Rape Activist to Her Feminist Sex Toy Store” from Yes Means Yes!