We need to talk about sex. I’m not referring to the ‘lad chat’ that is too often the soundtrack to your average night out in Spoons or Cindies – I am far more concerned about that fact that we, as (for the most part) functioning adults, are so unwilling and/or unable to discuss what is fundamentally the most natural part of human nature.
Statistically, most of the people reading this will have had sex. Your friends have probably done it. Your lecturers and supervisors have, and as much as I hate to be the one to remind you, your parents have definitely bumped uglies at least once in their relationship.
I understand that there are boundaries of taste, and I’m certainly not suggesting that we suddenly drop our sensitivities to merrily compare butt plugs over a Chelsea Bun and a nice cup of tea. There does come a time, however, in which we do ourselves absolutely no favours by refusing to engage in a frank and honest discourse about sex.
How to do it, how to stay safe, and how to actually enjoy yourself are all things we should learn to talk about. I would much rather be uncomfortable discussing the ins and outs (if you will) of sex, then find myself in a physically or emotionally uncomfortable position simply because I was never told how to behave or what to expect. And however mortifying it may be, I would much rather be told I need lube than wake up the next morning feeling like I had been aggressively fingered by Edward Scissorhands.
Perhaps this is no more than a very British problem – we live in a country where most people are too polite to criticise their hairdresser, so none of us are likely to be people who will call out a partner on a bad shag. CUSU Women’s Campaign are already doing a great thing by encouraging discussions about sexual consent and healthy relationships, but there is still a long way to go until these ideas enter the mainstream. Sex is one of the areas where people need the most self-care, but it is also the most neglected part of normalised socialization. There’s clearly something really, really wrong when we can find hardcore porn online in minutes and yet it took years for anyone to find my clitoris (including myself).
What should we do? Talk about it. I refuse to apologise for something which gives me and (hopefully) my partner pleasure, and that makes me feel closer to the people I choose to share myself and my body with. Talk to your sexual partners, your friends, and to the old woman in the line behind you at Starbucks (she’s probably had a lot more sex than you).
The sooner we can talk freely about our sexual experiences – however varied, experimental or numerous – the sooner misogynistic bullshit like ‘slut shaming’ will become obsolete. The sooner we learn to laugh freely about our sexual encounters, the sooner we will stop feeling needlessly ashamed about perfectly natural experiences or bodily functions. Honestly, if you can’t laugh about bad sex with your partner, you’re sleeping with with the wrong person. And most importantly, the sooner we learn to talk about what we want and how we want it, the sooner we can all enjoy safer orgasms, better orgasms and more orgasms. I don’t know about you, but that is definitely a cause I can get behind.