How To Talk About Sex

With the recent push for sexual positivity and freedom within one’s love life, a need has arisen for a space to talk about sex. Although most people are taught that they do have to talk about sex at some point, there are very few reliable sources indicating when or how to have these conversations.

This article is dedicated to a handful of useful tips I have collected through personal experience and through learning how to have discussions that suit my own needs. I am not a professional, nor am I trained in this subject, but there are a few constants I cannot help but bring up.

While I learned how to talk about sex cordially from very early on and into puberty, I did not learn how to conduct myself in spaces without formal boundaries. As someone who is sex repulsed, my boundaries for what I will and will not talk about do not necessarily line up with my moralistic views of sex.

For a laundry list of reasons, but especially due to my experiences as a queer person, I remember spending a lot of time left out of conversations about sex in high school and beyond. Either what I wanted to talk about was never brought up or I was isolated from whatever the established common opinion of the group was, if I was not afraid to speak at all in the first place.

I appreciate having had fewer experiences like this in recent years; nonetheless, I wound up with a rather solid idea of what not to do. In almost all of my experiences, people whose needs are different from that of the “norm” are rarely made to feel welcome or included in conversations about sex and sexuality.

If nothing else, it is vitally important to remember that boundaries are not a measure of moral or personal judgment, and that there are a number of legitimate reasons as to why someone would be uncomfortable discussing their sexuality. There are no legitimate reasons to force someone to concede information against their will.

Unless you painstakingly choose to be around people who have similar experiences and emotions towards sexual activity that you do, it is unlikely that this situation will occur. A healthy environment is conducive to your own safety and comfort regardless of these things, so be prepared to accommodate multiple comfort levels.

The importance of respecting boundaries cannot be emphasized enough. We are taught to never discuss our boundaries for discussion openly (or worse yet, allow one person set all boundaries on behalf of hundreds of people). This is something that will take a lot of time for most people—straight people in particular—to learn, but it can make all the difference in the world.

I am still unlearning various toxic ideologies about sexuality and sexual norms from a variety of places, but taking in the information that is available and finding a way to include as many voices as possible is something that has made this issue much more manageable.