Sex Positivity in Pop Culture


Sex Positivity in Pop Culture

by Anna Sorensen
December 14, 2022

Often when we think of sex positivity in popular culture, we immediately think of TV shows and movies, which can be wonderful forms of representation as well as great conversation starters. But there are so many ways to explore topics like body diversity, pleasure, and healthy relationships. So we’d like to highlight some other places where inclusive and fun content about sex is flourishing. Below, you can explore a list of some of my current favorite books, Instagram accounts, and podcasts covering all things reproductive well-being. 

Hilde Atalanta & The Vulva Gallery

 I first discovered the Vulva Gallery while scrolling on Instagram and am so thankful I did! The creator, Hilde Atalanta (they/them), is an Amsterdam-based illustrator whose work “revolves around diversity, sexuality and inclusivity.” You can read more about their art on their website. Since launching the Vulva Gallery in 2017, Hilde has also started the Body Diversity Gallery, which can be found on Instagram. Their most recent project, the You’re Welcome Club, “is an illustrational project in which [they’re] celebrating diversity by showing individuals with different kinds of backgrounds, sexualities, gender identities and body shapes. [They’re] aiming to make a series of illustrations in which people recognise themselves, and [they’re] putting an emphasis on individuals that aren’t often portrayed. [They] want people to feel welcome, included, and to know that they belong.”

The crown jewel on my bookshelf right now is the book that came out of Hilde’s Instagram gallery, A Celebration of Vulva Diversity. You might also recognize their work if you binged Netflix’s Sex Education multiple times like I did; the website Aimee visits called All Vulvas are Beautiful was a collaboration with Hilde! Check them out to see more of their rad art and the beautiful online community they’ve fostered. 

Shan Boodram & Lovers and Friends Podcast

Author, intimacy educator, and certified sexologist, Shan Boodram, describes herself as “kinda like Dr. Ruth meets Rihanna.” I first heard her when she was featured on the podcast, “Ologies” where experts in various fields are invited to chat with host Alie Ward. Since then, I’ve loved listening to Shan’s podcast, “Lovers and Friends,” where she has honest and engaging conversations about sex, intimacy, relationships, love, and more! Her approach is fun and accessible, and she opens up about difficult and vulnerable topics with the guests she brings onto her podcast. You can find her on Instagram as well. 

Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that will Transform your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, P.h.D.

I first read Come As You Are in one sitting when it was published in 2016 and loved it. Since then, in March 2021, author Emily Nagoski published an updated and revised version following five years of engaging with readers and their feedback. Her book dives into pleasure, desire, and how mindfulness plays a big role in sustaining a happy and fulfilling sex life. One of my favorite quotes from her book is: “Remind yourself that the day you were born, your body was a cause for celebration, for love without condition, and that’s just as true today as it was then.” If books aren’t your style, you can hear more about Emily’s research into human sexuality and pleasure on her new podcast that launched last month! 

Ericka Hart, M.Ed. & @ihartericka

Ericka Hart (she/they), in her own words, is “a kinky, poly, cancer-warrior, activist and sexuality educator.... [she] is shifting ingrained cultural modes and attitudes on chronic illness and posits visibility as vital to any radically inclusive movement toward equity.” They are a highly acclaimed speaker, writer, and model, and have taught sex-ed for youth and adults in NYC for over 10 years. Her online gallery features images of Ericka baring her double-mastectomy scars, and wearing beautiful, vibrant colors and fabrics. One picture is accompanied by Ericka’s words: “It took a longer time for me to love my body as a black person than as a breast cancer survivor.” They also have their own podcast, “Hoodrat to Headwrap: a decolonized podcast,” which dismantles white supremacy while providing sexuality education. Ericka is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University’s School of Social Work and the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. 

Casey Tanner & @queersextherapy 

Another lovely find during hours of Instagram scrolling was @queersextherapy, an account run by Casey Tanner (they/them) MA, LCPC, CST. Casey’s feed is colorful and welcoming, and they explore all things sex: pleasure, fantasies, STIs, sexual orientation, desire, and more! They also tackle topics that are often harder to talk about such as conflict, break-ups, setting boundaries, and sexual violence and trauma. Casey has a podcast with Kamil Lewis (she/her) MA, LMFT, called “Safeword,” and runs another Instagram account, @theexpansivegroup. Describing the impetus to create this group, Casey wrote:

“After receiving hundreds of messages a week on @queersextherapy from people craving a deeper dive into their identities and relationships, it became clear that there if there were going to be more spaces where queer folks around the world could confidently seek care, we were going to have to create one! Within just 1.5 years of opening, The Expansive Group (TEG's) has come to house 20 LGBTQIA+ clinicians and 5 educators, all *obsessed* with doing right by queer and BIPOC clients and communities. Since our opening, have seen over 1000 LGBTQIA+ clients seeking therapeutic support, and have been able to serve over 30% of those clients on a sliding scale. We look forward to finding new ways to engage in anti-oppressive practice as we grow!”

I hope you found some exciting new people, books, podcasts, and Instagram accounts to check out and learn from! We love to celebrate the incredible ways creators are using different mediums to share sex positive content. 


Anna Sorensen got her B.A. in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Spanish from The George Washington University. As a Digital Programs Fellow, she gets to use her passion for reproductive justice and health equity to help patients throughout the US find contraceptive and abortion care.