by Jessica Spohn
Have you ever wondered about something and then gone straight to the internet to search for the answer? Did you do this because it was more convenient, or because the topic was embarrassing, or you felt like no one else would know the answer? Today, the internet is a common first resort for many; when the topic is sex, it surprises me how many of those I have spoken with turn to the internet for answers rather than turn to the people they know.
In my life, it has always been the norm for my friends to pose questions or comments to me about sex—I am very open with what I know and I don’t think it’s embarrassing to talk about in the appropriate location. My belief is that sharing what I know will help dispel myths or increase knowledge, and if I don’t know, we can learn more together. What I have come to find is that not everyone is this way. Conversations with friends and between family members and partners is still in a way taboo. This thought process can affect us no matter our age, culture, or gender expression—it can happen to anyone because many believe that sex is a completely private matter and should only be discussed behind closed doors.
Having discussions about sex should never be viewed as a negative thing. Discussions can bring awareness about a person’s feelings, likes, dislikes, and experiences, and can bolster safe-sex practices. With partners, this communication about sex can be especially important because a discussion about what they like and don’t like, about differences in sex drive, thoughts on pregnancy (including birth control methods) or adoption, and history of partners and STIs can make a big difference in that area of the relationship. If one side is not happy and it is not talked about between the partners, then neither side can be fulfilled.
Friends who converse about sex not only create a safe space to continue discussions with peers who listen, think, and share, but it can also promote accountability for safe-sex and noticing/acting on warning signs of unhealthy relationships and actions. Learning and growing together is a beneficial part of having a sense of community, and the topic of sex should not be left out.
Not every intimate detail or anything outside of your comfort zone needs to be revealed. Different things I’ve been asked about range from various kinds of protection and contraception for men and women, anatomy, and “how much does that cost.” There is so much to talk about that I am amazed it doesn’t happen more often. So next time you are wondering about something sex-related, think about turning to someone you know before turning on the computer. That person may also have a question you can confidently answer!