I talk about sex all the time. I talk about sex for my job; I talk about sex with my friends; I talk about body parts involved in sex and problems that can come up with sex and the culture that we build around sexuality. I talk about sex enough that I’ve for sure made many, many people uncomfortable because we as a culture don’t talk about sex. Sex is supposed to hidden and secret and private — and I think that’s really damaging. That’s why I think we should all talk about sex more with friends.
Think about all of the hangups you have or have had over the years about sex and your sexuality. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Am I normal?” or “Is this normal?” — and most people have at some point or another — then you know what I’m talking about. Sure, sex ed is OK-ish in a lot of places (including where I grew up) but even that doesn’t usually address pleasure and it definitely doesn’t address specific things that you can do or try during sex. And kink or alternative sexual interests? Forget about it.
So what’s a curious human to do? Well, Google is always (kind of) your friend. Porn is OK but can also result in a lot of misconceptions about sex and sexuality, so shouldn’t be anyone’s only source of info.You can ask your parents, but that can get hella awkward right quick, especially after the age of like, 13. I find that for adults the best thing we can do is talk about sex with our friends.
“I think talking about sex with your friends can help normalize interests and behaviors and it can also spark your imagination,” Sarah Watson, licensed professional counselor and sex therapist, tells Bustle. “Friends can encourage you to try new things and expand your horizons. In my experience most people aren’t educated on how to talk about sex so starting with your friends in a loving and safe environment can be very helpful!”
Not sure you agree? Feeling a little squicky about bringing up blow jobs at brunch? Here are seven reasons to consider talking about sex with your friends more.
1. You’ll Probably Find Out You Have A Lot In Common
I think one of the biggest questions people have about their sexuality is whether or not they’re “normal.” Well, one thing you find out really quickly when you start talking to your friends about sex is that a lot of you are doing the same things, have the same hangups, and are facing the same sexual problems as each other. Instead of feeling lonely in your experience, it’s awesome to share it and realize that, a) you’re totally normal and, b) your friends are going through the same things you are.
2. It Helps You Identify If Something Is Wrong
However, sometimes stuff is going on in our genitals or our sex lives that we don’t even realize is wrong, mainly because we’re not taught very well about everything from STIs to consent. When you talk to your friends about sex, you might realize that, for example, the fact that your partner doesn’t make an effort to give you an orgasm isn’t cool. Or that there’s really only a few days per month that you can get pregnant. Or that a bruised cervix is a sex injury that a lot of you have experienced. It’s definitely worth putting it out there for that information!
3. Talking About Sex Is A Great Weapon Against Rape Culture
One of my favorite sex-positive business women, Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn (NSFW), talks all the time about how so many of our society’s issues — especially around rape, sexual assault, bad sex, and rape culture — can be blamed on the fact that we just don’t talk about sex. I totally agree. Victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and rape culture in general all grow out of the fact that we carry so much shame about sex. Talking openly and freely about sex and sexuality is the best way that I’ve found to fight that and talking with your friends is a great place to start.
4. It’s Fun!
But for real though. Dishing about your sex life with your friends really can be as fun as it looked on Sex in the City. Sex can be, above all things, an awesome, fun, silly, great experience! And chatting about it lets you relive it all over again.
5. It Will Make You Closer
You know what brings friends closer together? Bonding over personal experiences. You know what’s hella personal? Sex. Sometimes it can be hard to find intimacy with your friends as an adult, partly because there aren’t as many things to bond over as there were when we were younger. But sex is something that most adults do and talking about it is an excellent way to bond.
6. You Could Learn A Few New Things
Maybe your friend has been to a sex party and you haven’t and she’s willing to hook it up. Or maybe he’s tried pegging and you think it’s fascinating and want to know more. The possibilities for sexual things you can do are practically limitless and while you might see something new in porn, friends are a way better source for learning about new things.
7. It Could Help You Feel Better About Your Body
My colleague Kathleen Burdo put it succinctly: “You realize that your body sh*t is normal and your friends can reinforce your awesome hotness.”
Here’s the thing about sex: It’s very physical. It involves your body. When you talk about sex openly, you’ll inevitably get into some body talk. Even if you’re not feeling great about your body, your friends will totally boost you up — because they’re awesome and they’re your friends! (And if they don’t, maybe it’s time to look for some new friends…)