Positive Potential: How Sex Positivity Can Benefit Legal Thinking and Sex Work Regulation in Australia
This article highlights the value of sex positivity as a framework for thinking about law and demonstrates this value by applying a sex positive legal approach to the regulation of sex work in Australia. This article begins by explaining sex positivity, identifying its central principles and responding to some of the criticisms of it. It then charts the emergence of a distinct line of sex positive thinking within legal commentary, catalogues sex positivity’s various uses for legal analysis and explores what the sex positive commitment to sexual autonomy means in terms of law. This article ends by generating a series of reform proposals for sex work regulation in Australia that model the operationalisation of sex positive legal thinking in practice. Ultimately, this article argues that the adoption of sex positive legal thinking allows law to contribute towards the development of a society in which access, information, resources, decision-making and accountability around sex are better facilitated and more equitably facilitated across social groups. In terms of the regulation of sex work in Australia, this would involve not just decriminalisation but also sweeping legal reforms around education, access, work and oppressive social structures.