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Sex-positivity and child protection: not a contradiction in terms

February 20, 2022 @ 9:15 am 9:35 am PST

This session will explain what a sex-positive approach to the prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA) looks like, and explore the difficulties of communicating the benefits of this approach to the general public. When viewed through a sex-positive lens, CSA is wrong not because it is sexually immoral, but because it is a consent violation—since a child cannot, by definition, consent to sex. Comprehensive sex education that includes consent, and stigma-free support for people are concerned about their thoughts towards children, are just two examples of CSA prevention policies that are supported by this sex-positive approach. However, when viewed through an alternative sex-negative lens, CSA is wrong because it stems from immoral thoughts, and such thoughts should directly be stigmatized and criminalized even if they are never acted upon. Through this alternative lens, the sex-positive approach is as characterized as “pro-pedophilia.” This tension will be explored by reference to the real case study of sex-positive child protection organization Prostasia Foundation.

Center for Positive Sexuality

(818) 661-3615

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