Sex-positive influencers get millions of views for vlogging about sex. These young educators are giving a helping hand to young people.
If Laid Bare had a message for all these young followers, it would be this: respect yourselves, be safe, and make sure you're enjoying sex. Also, make sure your partner is enjoying it as much as you are. She also says that it is a winning formula that is going great with listeners. And these mostly include women of color. Last year, 400 people attended the live recording held in London.
Sex-positivity is characterized by a spirit of openness towards sexuality. Moreover, its emphasis on sexual pleasure as well. Sex should be looked at as a celebration rather than a source of shame. Influencers encourage guidance on how to experiment with safety in the bedroom.
Anyone who is sex-positive would be willing to accept a four-way polyamorous relationship. They would also be willing to have BDSM casual sex and heterosexual monogamy. As long as everything is happening between consenting adults, human sexuality is permissible.
Most influencers come together online. You will see most of them documenting their sexcapades on blogs. For example, The Casual Sex Project invites real people to share their one-night stands. This movement has spawned a number of influencers including Olonisakin, feminist pornographer Erika Lust and many more.
Sex-education in British schools will become a compulsory part of the curriculum only from September. Until then young people are looking for answers online. This generation has grown up watching porn on their smartphones on the bus after which they end up sexting in their teens.
Moreover, a female-led movement interacts with contemporary feminism by prioritizing consent. They educate people about health and relationships and also advocate against sex-shaming and sexist double standards. There are also male LGBTQ+ influencers such as Riyadh Khalaf and Calum McSwiggan who play their part.
With any emerging youth movement, there has always been pushback. Sex-positive influencers have found themselves with a vicious globalized cultural war religious and conservative groups. Then there has been the non-LGBTQ+ inclusive approach. This has less in common with Netflix's Sex Education show and more with the hapless gym teacher in Mean Girls.
In the US, a Christian blogger burned down copies of Teen Vogue for publishing an anal sex guide. In December, One Million Moms: is the best known called for a boycott of the Hallmark Channel where an ad depicted a same-sex couple.
Such groups often wage to block sex-positive education in classrooms. These attitudes are not unique in the United States. In the United Kingdom, Birmingham primary school decided to teach LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education to their students. After hearing this news, parents reacted with fury. Moreover the majority of students from the school wee from Muslim families.
They amended the program. But there was still tension between parents and teachers.
Sex-positive influencers are also facing backlash from legislators and internet platforms. The digital economy bill opposed porn creators for its age verification requirements. This bill was passed in 2017.
Platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and many more have been censoring these influencers. They demonetize their channels or even limit their visibility. Some sex educators on Instagram had their accounts suspended or even deleted.
Barkway says, "Breaking stigma is a big part of what we do. Making people feel less abnormal for having fetishes or desires."
Amber and Barkway posted a video titled "We BOTH have HERPES." they got multiple responses from viewers thanking them fro tackling the taboo around the topic of sexually transmitted infections. Of course, they are not solely motivated by altruism. with the growing movement, being a sex-positive influencer has become a viable career.
Amber and Barkway admit that they are not trained experts on the topics. They spend hours doing research on their videos. And give it 100% before uploading the videos.
Experts believe that it is better that young people learn about sex from these influencers rather than from porn sites. Amanda Mason-Jones, a senior lecturer in global public health at the University of York says, “They promote sex and intimacy as something positive, and not something to be ashamed of.” There are easier and more similar ways for influencers to get famous.
Moreover, it is ideal if young people learned about sex from their families rather than the internet. But that possibility is highly unlikely. Many viewers come from conservative or religious households where sex or being LGBTQ+ is taboo.
The girls receive emails and DMs from young people including sexual abuse survivors. They try their best to respond. Sex education is important to them. Evidence shows that STI rates are higher and are undiagnosed for longer. Especially in black-African communities. “Laid Bare is about having a forum where you can feel free,” Jamilah says. “Because normally, in black communities, it’s taboo to talk about sex. You keep it private.”