Your sexual value system is your personal beliefs, attitudes or feelings about sex and sexuality.  (For example, are you conservatively or liberally minded when dealing with sexual situations?) Everyone has a different SVS. 


Attitudes about sex and sexuality, past and present:


1. Words suggesting that sex is essentially BAD (repressed):

disgusting dirty vulgar degrading
immoral bad evil gross
impure sinful base base instincts
shameful depraved work of the devil temptation
unlawful scary (consequences) a duty monotonous
violent dangerous forbidden exploitative
not supposed to be pleasurable (for females) acceptable only within marriage
acceptable only for reproduction/procreation more acceptable for men than women


2. Words suggesting that sex is essentially GOOD (celebrated):

fun exciting to be celebrated natural
a natural part of life beautiful intimate relaxing
magical accepted comfortable sacred
enjoyable playful satisfying pleasurable
tension relieving creative spiritual amazing
equally acceptable for men and women  


Other things that Sexual Value Systems may depend on:

      - Historical time?

      - Historical place?

      - Particular society?

      - Social status?

      - Male vs. female?


Related question: are there still different rules/standards for men and women?

            Think if the terms used if you have multiple partners: Stud versus Slut.


Rules for when sexual behavior is acceptable:

You sexual value system also tells you when sex is OK.  Different sexual value systems might consider that sex is OK only if you are:

married in love
old enough

committed (could refer to exclusivity

     or to duration)

protected (safe sex) have known partner for a while
intending to produce children not lying
not "using" the other person not feeling "used" by the other person
trusting of others comfortable - anytime, anyplace, anywhere
a consenting adult not using force
trustworthy sober
thought things through responsible
law abiding sex (not deviant or illegal) in a consensual relationship


What kind of sex?  Finally, when we ask “under what conditions is it OK to have sex,” we have to define what we mean by “sex.”  The rules may differ for different activities.  Ask yourself what the rules are for:


intercourse petting masturbation affairs/adultery
fornication adultery oral sex anal sex
group sex heterosexual homosexual fetishism
sadism masochism telephone sex. foreplay


Further thinking about your own SVS:

- What is my SVS?   How would I answer the questions above?

- Where did my own SVS come from?

- Has it changed?

- How has it changed (if it has)?

If you don’t want to talk about your own SVS, discuss: what would you tell your little brother?  Your little sister?



1. Discuss any of the above material.


2. Has the SVS in the USA changed in the last 40 years? How?

- are the changes good or bad.

- [hopefully you will see both good aspects and bad aspects. Discuss each.]


3. Debate with at least one person taking each position:

- Sex is ok anytime anywhere anyplace and any kind.

- Sex should be kept only for marriage in a lifelong committed monogamous relationship.  


4. My SVS:

- What is my SVS? Sex is ok if.....

- Where did it come from?

- has it changed?

- do I expect it will change further as I grow older?

- would I recommend it for my little sister or brother?

updated 9/1/05