TALKING TABOO 2: TALK THE TALK
Like we said the last time, talking about sex with someone can be tough, regardless of how comfortable or confident you feel you are. The fact that women speak a totally different language when it comes to sex does not make it any easier for the men to bring up the subject. For men, the focus is primarily on the physical act per se, while for women sex comes with more intimacy and emotional wrappings. Despite the differences, it is important to communicate with your partner not just about your likes and dislikes but also about your sexual past and your sexual health. You can never be too safe with all the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) (some of which are getting antibiotic resistant, it makes curing them harder!). Talking about such topics may seem like a mood killer, but considering the consequences (think: embarrassing visits to the clinic after getting the disease and potentially dying) it doesn’t sound that bad either.
Easier said than done, actually approaching the topic about STIs is an ordeal in itself. But remember, you’re doing the right thing. It’s also a good idea to encroach the topic before you get under the sheets, there’s little chance of you thinking with your head when you’re past a certain sexual barrier with your partner.
Also, just because your partner hasn’t initiated the talk, doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to talk about it at all. They might just be relieved when you man up and start talking about it. On the other hand, if your partner gets offended when you approach the topic, one of two things may be the case. She (or he) may not be comfortable talking about the issue because it’s too soon in the relationship or due to reasons of her (his) own and it may be a good idea to approach the topic at a future date. Or it might just be that she has a nasty infection (Google ‘blue waffles’ I dare you) and she doesn’t want you knowing. If your partner is not concerned about your and their own physical health, chances are they don’t care about your emotional and mental health either.
In fact, getting tested together could be something you do as a couple. It won’t be the sexiest of things you do as a couple, but it will definitely be one of the smartest. While you are on the topic, you might as well talk about your choice of contraceptives to avoid pregnancy. It is always great to know the choices available (check issue#7 of TNM). Discuss what would be best for you.
BEING ABLE TO TALK ABOUT SEX MIGHT JUST TRANSCEND INTO A BETTER AND MORE FULFILLING SEX LIFE.
Now, on to talking about the deed itself. First of all, you need to be sure you are on the same page about where your relationship is at the moment. It is important for you to respect your partner’s choice (whether they’re ready for sex or not). Just because they say no to sex does not mean they don’t care about you. And just because, your partner brought up sex before you did does not mean they want to use you, or that they are promiscuous. What would be totally wrong is “sexual coercion” which is basically “encouraging/manipulating/convincing someone to have sex when they don’t want to”. I would just like to point out that, men are equally at risk of being sexually coerced by their partners as women are. And, just because you are not ready for sex or are not in the mood does not make you a lesser man. Your body is your possession, your territory and your decision to treat it as you see fit. You should not let anyone tell you any different. This may not be a common occurrence but it does happen. It really does!
We have already established that it is difficult to put yourself ‘out there’ while talking about sex. And we also know that keeping silent about it could lead to much worse situations (unwanted pregnancy & STIs). We do need to consider some things that can stand in the way of good sexual communication. First off, there are some sex myths that lead us to think that to be great lovers we also need to be mind readers!
Being able to talk about sex might just transcend into a better and more fulfilling sex life. Sexual fear can be a barrier to talking about sex. It could be the fear of rejection or being seen as a fool, or maybe we are scared of showing our socially or politically incorrect side with our “inappropriate” sexual desires.
In context of our society and culture, we are more often than not, raised with negative beliefs about sex. We have been told that sex is bad and immoral and those who indulge before marriage end up single (and we often help to perpetrate this by acting upon those thoughts). When two people who both have negative sex beliefs get together, there are more risks of miscommunication and personal risk for both. I personally think sex is a beautiful thing and an amazing way to show someone how you feel about them, if you choose to vilify it, disrespect it, and make it dirty– your bad!
Lack of proper information on sex may just be holding your sex life back. This lack of sex information also extends to not having the accurate sexual vocabulary. For instance we cannot use the proper word for our body parts (without making someone cringe or blush- in not a good way). We are constantly substituting ‘slang’ for the proper terminology of words like vagina, clitoris and penis (yes I said it!). It will help you talk about sex in a healthy manner and express yourself.
Having good sexual communication with your partner would mean that you have a clear sense of your personal boundaries. You should not feel like you disclosed more than what you are comfortable with. Now, enjoy talking the talk!