1. Honest, mutually consensual and based on clear communication
  2. Essential, meets physical, emotional, psychological needs and doesn’t feed addiction
  3. Arousing, mutually orgasmic and/or pleasureful
  4. Liberatory, builds sexual confidence and agency in fulfilling desires
  5. Intimate, explores depths of human openness and connection
  6. Nurturing, an expression of love and care within a sustainable relationship
  7. Gorgeous, celebrates human body and all 5 senses
  8. Spiritual, supports whole people and their growth, does not reduce to sex-objects
  9. Equal, does not reinforce structures of oppression or unequal power dynamics
  10. Xciting, engages imagination and challenges boundaries

This definition of healthy sexuality is meant to be used to evaluate possible and actual sexual interactions. I’ve created it as an acronym so that it can be memorized and recalled as different kinds of sexual situations develop. Specifically, this was created for the Men’s Support Group of which I am a part, so that we can be mindful of how we express our sexualities and how they affect ourselves and our partners.

Since we live in a patriarchal society, sex is far too often destructive and self-destructive, reinforcing male dominance and the objectification of female bodies. At the same time, so many of us have been and are victims of sexual violence and trauma, which has scarred us deeply and made sex a difficult and often triggering activity. But if we are intentional and sensitive about overcoming these obstacles, sex can become a sustaining, healing, and even revolutionary act.

I hope this 10-point rubric can help in some way to navigate the sexual landscape as we work to create positive and healthy sexualities.