I used to think no one talks about sex.
It is such a taboo topic. I certainly never talked about sex with anyone.
In fact, up until quite recently, I assumed that no one else ever talks about sex as well. Because everyone is embarrassed, right? This was affirmed by nearly everyone around me. Not that I talked to them about sex to know for certain. However, every now and then I tried. I made a few hints. Discussed it generally and blushed like crazy.
On top of that, the places that I did look to for helpful discussions about sex always seemed too shallow, too raunchy. TMI, you know.
Then I learned that I was completely wrong.
When I shifted towards being more confident around my own sexuality, I found out that there are lots of people that do talk about sex openly. And those places I used to think were too raunchy? I now feel at ease reaching out to them.
Don’t get me wrong. There are still many resources that I don’t like when it comes to how they portray sex and sexuality.
The worst are actually the ones that are supposedly not sexual in nature, but display a narrative that bypasses our evolved human capabilities and appeals directly to our reptilian brain. I’m referring to things like ads that objectify women’s bodies in order to sell something. Most of us respond to these images with arousal, which is only natural. Then some of us feel guilt for having been aroused by such images.
But I’m getting sidetracked.
Why should we talk about sex?
Truth is my sidetrack just before is the main reason I reckon we, as a society and as individuals, need to talk about sex freely.
We are constantly bombarded with messages that are confusing, contradicting, and damaging. On one side of the scale, we have those who tell us that sex is a sin (or that it is only permitted in very specific circumstances which are allowed by some external Power). On the other side of the scale, we have those who, in the name of free speech or whatever, think that images that sell are allowed anywhere, regardless of the values — or lack of values — that they promote.
These messages are doing us such an injustice. No wonder we end up being so messed up about sex.
And it all gets worse due to the fact that we don’t talk about it.
In most other topics in our lives, when we are muddled and disoriented, we have the option to discuss the situation with people that we think can assist us.
When it comes to sex, we have so many opposing emotions, thoughts, and mechanisms that our conscience has to navigate. However, we don’t have the opportunity to put some order in the convoluted way we deal with sex.
Can you imagine seeing a Facebook post from one of your friends: “Looking for recommendations for a good sex therapist that can help me deal with my guilt about feeling aroused by images of buttocks in tights”. I don’t think so.
When we don’t talk about sex, we are directly contributing to the compounded knot that our society is in.
Who should we talk about sex to?
Easier said than done.
I write about sex but I don’t necessarily reveal my personal sexual experiences. I still feel completely embarrassed in some situations.
Like yesterday, at work. Just a normal chat with my colleague during our lunch break. I casually mentioned that I wake up at 4 am most mornings, and when he asked me what I do when I'm up so early, I froze. Should I really tell him that I have a blog about sex and sexuality? That 4 am is when I write?
I didn’t want him to know. I didn’t want this to become the thing people talk about in the office. It will be too uncomfortable for me, as it has nothing to do with my day job or the industry I work in.
On the other hand, my friends know what I do. My family knows what I do.
It took me some courage but even my 90-year-old grandfather knows that I write about sex.
Point is, talking about sex is closely tied with who you are talking to, and the situation you want to discuss.
I won’t be discussing my private issues with every Tom, Dick, and Harry. But knowing that I can discuss the issues with some people is a world apart from where I used to be, which was not talking to anyone about sex, ever. Including being embarrassed to discuss things with my Doctor at times.
It’s a damn good start to making this world a better place.
A world that allows for any form of sex and sexuality as long as it’s practiced between consenting adults.
A world that sees sex as a healthy expression of a healthy intimate relationship.
A world I want my daughter to grow up in.