The elephant in the bedroom: Talking about sex

Posted On: April 17, 2010

This article first appeared on The Online Citizen.

For most people, sex is a sensitive and difficult subject to talk about.

Click here to read the article I wrote for The Online Citizen.

For most people, sex is a sensitive and difficult subject to talk about.

I have come across a man who, after 15 years of marriage, admitted that he and his wife have never talked about sex. Don’t get me wrong. They do have sex. They just don’t talk about it.

In other words, they never talked about their preferences when it comes to sexual position or technique. And because sex has become the elephant in the bedroom, I would suppose they also have never shared how they would prefer to be touched – much less ask for it. Not only have they not ventured into asking each other for feedback, they would most certainly not be coming up with new ideas of what they would like to do but have not tried any time soon.

One of my favourite sayings goes like this: ‘If you don’t ask for what you want, you will most certainly not get it.’ But the first thing is to know what it is you want. And how will you know what it is you want or like if you have never tried it?

If sex is as simple as: trying something (be it a position, technique or otherwise); seeing if you like it; doing more of it; being sure of what you want; and then asking for it, why aren’t more people doing A, B or C to get D? What is it about S-E-X that is so scary? What is about our sexuality that we are trying to (or not to) express?

The truth of the matter is: how many of us were exposed to sexuality education growing up? And I don’t mean how the sperm meets the egg. I am also not just talking about how women bleed once a month (and the men going ‘eek!’), safer sex or sexually transmitted infections. I am referring to honest conversations about all aspects of one’s sexuality including: body image, sexual orientation, values, decision making, communication, dating, relationships, etc. as well as sex as a pleasurable act.

If we haven’t had such exposure, just how do we begin to know what it is we don’t know, but should know? And just how, with this lack of sexuality education, do we talk about sex in an adult and mature manner? We can’t. We want to but do not know how.

At networking events, I have been the butt of many jokes about the nature of my work. Somebody, with X number of kids, will invariably say something to this effect: “Oh I won’t be needing any help from you. I have X kids to prove that I have no problems.”

Surely sex is more about reproduction. And just what does it say about one when a person is so quick to dismiss any kind of a conversation related to sexuality?

This brings me back to: For most people, sex is a sensitive and difficult subject to talk about.

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