1st Edition

Sex Positivity and White-Sex Supremacy Ending Complicity in Black Body Erasure

By Carole Clements Copyright 2024

    This text critically examines, argues, and demonstrates how the sex-positive movement is complicit in the perpetuation of White Supremacy and anti-black bias in the field of human sexualities, offering white sexuality professionals embodied ethical antiracist strategies for sexual inclusion and transformational change.

    In a world where whiteness is considered the sexual and bodily norm, Carole Clements proposes that the sex-positive movement has failed to examine how it maintains White Supremacy through the guise of inclusivity, and how the lack of a critical understanding of what "sex-positive" means has caused harm to black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) individuals and communities alike. Pivoting away from a sex-positive/sex-negative binary, this book establishes a sex-critical discourse by introducing and operationalizing the term "White-sex Supremacy" to produce a racially just and embodied sexual ethic. Chapters begin by looking at sexual science and its racial origins, recounting how both the science of sex and that of race strived for positivist legitimacy in the same historical moment. Moving from the social construction of racial and sexual hierarchies, chapters look at eugenics and sexology’s early "sex-positive" pioneers, such as Margaret Sanger and Havelock Ellis, before examining the establishment of a race-evasive yet distinctly white sexual normality reliant on sex-positive framing. It shows how sex positivity became a popularized term without a clear definition other than "good," and how the legacy of white fragility leads to complicit white silence and the erasure of Black sexualities. Theoretical, practical, and accessible, it offers tangible methods for white sexuality professionals and scholars to learn accompliceship (over allyship) to promote antiracist sexual justice activism.

    This book is essential reading for white sexuality professionals, including sex educators, sex therapists, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, psychotherapists, gynecologists, and nurses, who are committed to examining their whiteness in the context of their commitment to sex positivity.

    Introduction  1. White Supremacy and Sex: Historicity and Home  2. Ghosts in the Kitchen and the Present Absence of Whiteness  3. Endurance and Erasure  4. Positivity and Time  5. The Making of White sex  6. White-Sex Theater: Sexual Corporeal Theatrics in Splacetime  7. Cultivating Playmind  Conclusion


    Carole Clements served as Dean of Naropa College for seven years and is Associate Professor of Contemplative Psychology at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Human Sexuality, Dynamics of Intimate Relationships, Erotic Intelligence and Sexual Narratives.

    ''My relevant identities are that I am an older white sex therapist and university instructor. I grew up in the middle of the 1965 Watts Riots surrounded by flames, fire, racism and red-lining; all of which directly impacted me and my family. Fast forward 5 decades, George Floyd was murdered, and I immersed myself in racial studies! I hesitate to offer my voice on this subject because I am not an expert on white supremacy, however I am an expert on what I like, and what I learn from. Carole is brilliant and this book taught me so much. I can't say enough good things about it.''

    Neil Cannon, PhD, LMFT, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist & Supervisor, Clinical Director, The Cannon Institute

    ''Bold and instructive, Carole Clements has written a text that extends beyond disciplinary boundaries. It centers dysconscious racism in sexuality studies, but will benefit all white-bodied antiracist scholar-activists dedicated to interrogating white supremacy through an intersectional lens of race, sex, and gender. Storytelling supplements theoretical and practical knowledge to offer innovative and accessible strategies for inching the dial closer to justice for BIPOC through individual and collective conscientization within white institutions and communities.''

    Ishtar Kramer, PhD, Core Faculty, East-West Psychology Department, California Institute of Integral Studies

    ''If ever there was a book that is deemed required reading for all White-bodied students, professors, practitioners, and those in leadership in psychotherapy, sex therapy, and sex education programs and practices, I enthusiastically and wholeheartedly recommend Clements’s Sex Positivity and White-sex Supremacy. Clements’s work is a gallant invitation to move beyond conversation and take action.''

    Roger Kuhn (Poarch Creek) PhD, LMFT, CST, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist

    ''Having co-authored two chapters with Carole on sexuality leadership and decolonizing sexuality research, I know firsthand that Carole’s commitment to antiracism is unwavering, rooted in both theory and praxis. Sex Positivity and White-sex Supremacy: Ending Complicity in Black Body Erasure is written in Carole’s signature style: evocative, creative and candid. By incorporating mindfulness and queering, Carole offers embodied strategies for antiracist practice for white sexuality professionals. As an intuitive eating facilitator, I advocate for an embodied approach to social justice. This book makes good on that imperative. Add it to your list of must reads.''

    Satori Madrone, PhD, Sexologist, Consultant, Educator

    ''This book is a mirror held to the face of sex therapy as a practice in the U.S. with one crystalline question for practitioners and those who train them: Do you want to be a part of the hard work to create an anti-racist sex therapy? The practice of sex therapy has a whiteness problem as do many institutions, practices, disciplines and fields, including sexualities studies. Our continued, collective possessive investment in whiteness risks further imperiling the wellness of us all. Therapists are ethically bound to seek out and destroy the possessive investments in whiteness as it shows up in practice for the betterment of our whole society—to start, read this book.''

    Michelle Marzullo, PhD, Professor and Chair, Human Sexuality Department, California Institute of Integral Studies

    ''Sex Positivity and White-sex Supremacy: Ending Complicity in Black Body Erasure offers intimate and bold instruction on the issues white therapists, partners, and community members fail to see as it relates to intimate relationships. While I am not a therapist or in the sexual health field, I have learned from how Carole Clements educates the reader through the lens of White-sex Supremacy and the toxic and racist nature of sex positivity. Through research, personal story, and suggested mindfulness-based practices, the content sinks deeply into your psyche through a humble, curious, and direct voice. This book is a must-read for anyone wanting to continue their JEDI training and advance their worldview.''

    Licia Morelli, Founder of The Communiqué and best-selling author of The Lemonade Hurricane and I Am Darn Tough 

    ''This is mandatory reading for white sexuality counselors. Its queer antiracist lens interrogates sex positivity to offer a critical and embodied alternative that embraces radical play, which is how Carole teaches: meaningfully, creatively, radically.''

    Sorin Thomas, MA, LPC, LAC, CGP, ACS, Founding and Executive Director of Queer Asterisk Therapeutic Services

    ''Sex Positivity and White-sex Supremacy: Ending Complicity in Black Body Erasure is a necessary contribution to how we think and talk about sex, ensuring that our commitment to sex-positive education is antiracist. On these pages, as in person, Carole Clements artfully addresses impediments to sexual inclusivity and pleasure through the lens of critical discourse, asking those of us who are white sexuality educators committed to antiracism to effort toward becoming more critically aware and embodied agents for change.''

    Elizabeth Wood, MSW, CSSE, ASSECT Supporting Member, Somatic Sex Educator and Co-Author of The Pleasure Prescription: A Surprising Approach to Healing Sexual Pain