During this past weekend, I have given a lot of thought to our most recent lecture in class. When asked to describe the places, or environments, that we feel the most free, I immediately thought of my family and friends. When I’m around them, there are no expectations placed upon me, and I can act, as I want to act. Granted, in a reasonable manner. Although my family is a place where I can feel free, I realize that the family might be a place where individuals feel restricted. With this in mind, I watched two movies this weekend where this feeling of restriction by family members was quite apparent.

 Titanic and Dirty Dancing both carry plot lines where the main character seeks out places, other than their family, where they can be freer and have no restriction put upon them. Their desires to break away from their families and seek out other “familial” environments doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the women wanting to be more sexually exuberant, but throughout the movie we do notice a change in how both women present themselves (as opposed to when they are in the midst of their families). In my opinion, this opposition stems from a desire of wanting to disregard the expectations and restrictions put upon them by their families and to experience the world around them in different ways. Even though the families in both movies differ in reaction to their daughters’ decisions, I think it’s important to note that no matter what the situation, we, as individuals, will always be in search of places and people where we can feel the most free and unrestricted.

 Now, on to more important topics. I would like to discuss Gayle Rubin’s article, “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality. On page 150 of her article, Rubin briefly touches upon the idea of “sex negativity. This is solely the idea that sex is considered to be dangerous, destructive and a negative force. She goes on to state, “Virtually all erotic behavior is considered bad unless a specific reason to exempt it has been established” (Rubin, 150). These reasons can range from marriage, the purpose for reproduction, and, of course, love. But what if sex negativity were to be turned on its head? If there’s the notion that sex is negative in our society, there has got to be an idea out there that sex is positive. Right?

 Right. Indeed, there is something called the Sex-positive movement. This movement, in short, advocates sex acts, and aims to breakdown marriage as a social institution. Not only does the Sex-positive movement encourage human sexuality, but it also realizes that sex education and the practice of sex is essential to its campaign (yeah!). Along with sex positive movement, there is also the idea of Free Love, which also aims to reject marriage because it is seen as a social bondage, especially for women. Free love is not concerned with actual sex acts that can be performed between sexual partners, but wishes that any romantic relationship that a woman, or man, enters not be governed by law.

One last branch of the Sex-positive movement, and easily the most amusing, is a book written by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy titled, The Ethical Slut. The book teaches women how to be, well, an ethical slut. The authors take the word “slut” and give it a whole new meaning: someone who is okay with sexual pleasure, and someone who seeks it out. And if an individual so chooses to have multiple sex partners in a short amount of time, The Ethical Slut teaches you how to do so in an honest and non-complicated way.

 My whole point with bringing up the Sex-positive movement is to not critique Rubin’s article, but to offer another point of view to her discussion of sex negativity. When individuals see something as negative, it also is seen as positive by another set of individuals.

 -Aubrey Merrell