What Do You Do to Make Sex Normal?

I stand with Planned Parenthood tshirt

In response to a pretty tough 2012 election season in which I felt depressingly and repeatedly reminded how little information and comfort there is about sexuality and reproductive health issues, I kept wondering what I could do. It hit me that sex is so compartmentalized that it’s often difficult for people to talk about sex in the regular everyday ways we talk about driver’s safety, hand washing, love, and other issues related to health and humanity.

A phrase kept coming to me, which is that we need to “Make Sex Normal”, a project I’ve recently launched at http://www.MakeSexNormal.tumblr.com

I hope that you will consider sharing what *you* are doing to Make Sex Normal – and by “sex”, I’m referring to the big umbrella of things like sex, gender, reproduction, puberty, genitals, etc. My hope is that the more people can learn about concrete, everyday ways that they can make sex normal, then sex will just become normal and something we can talk and teach about.

How can you participate?

1. Email a picture of yourself doing something to Make Sex Normal to MakeSexNormal@gmail.com. You can contribute as many photos as you want and whenever you want.

2. Let me know how to credit you. You don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to, but you can. You don’t have to show your face if you don’t want to, but you can.

3. Include a 1-2 sentence caption per photo that describes what you’re doing. For example, “I keep a basket of condoms on our clinic’s counter” or “I walk in PRIDE parades” or “My school has a gender neutral bathroom, which I advocated for” or “I teach a humanity sexuality class to college students”.

What counts as Making Sex Normal? Lots of things, including a photo of you:

- standing in front of a sex-positive movie poster (for example, How to Survive a Plague or Turn Me On, Dammit!)
- teaching a sex ed class
- a screenshot of your It Gets Better Project video (include the link, so we can send people to view it)
- holding a vulva puppet
- wearing a vagina monologues or other sex-positive t-shirt
- giving out condoms
- marching in, or attending, a Pride parade or a sex workers rally or a marriage equality event
- working the phone at an HIV education center
- wearing a pink ribbon or a red ribbon or a rainbow flag
- walking in an AIDS walk
- walking in a breast cancer walk

Thanks for everything you do to Make Sex Normal! I look forward to seeing your photo contributions. You can see some of mine, and some from Kate McCombs (editor of MSP and founder of the Sex Geekdom) and sex educator/MSP blogger Michaela, at Make Sex Normal.

Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor or follow Dr. Debby Herbenick, the author of this post, at @DebbyHerbenick

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.