How often do you and your sex partners talk about the sex you're having?
- Do you talk more about Justing Bieber than about your own beaver?
- More about Law and Order than about the way the law regulates our bedrooms?
- More about whether you should get bangs, than how you are (or aren't) getting banged?
- More about Glee than about experiencing actual pleasure in the bedroom?
Allow me to digress.
This past weekend, I attended the 2012 Good Vibrations Sex Summit, among the likes of Carol Queen, trans activist Yosenio V. Lewis and the sexysmart Emily Morse. Tucked in the honeymoon (conference) suite of the Marriot Marquis, icons and iconoclasts of sex, pop culture, media, academic research and scientific inquiry got in bed together and did it.
And by did it, I mean they came together and started ridiculously poignant conversations, that we should all be getting in on.
Apparently, sex research is doing pretty well.
We're actually talking about penises and vaginas. Things like pubic hair removal, cuddling and anal pleasure are being researched. Educators and researchers are finally asking about emotional intimacy and compassion in our sexual partnerships. Survey says that lots and lots of "regular people" are shopping at Brookstone... I mean using vibrators.
But it's not all rainbows and pony play.
Sex researcher Debby Herbenick, PhD blew my mindcock with her findings from a recent National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior by researchers at Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion.
Did you know that:
- 1% of men and 30% of women ages 18-59 reported some degree of pain during sex. 34% of women ages 18-24 reported some degree of pain during sex. And we're not talking tennis elbow. The pain was reported in their vaginas, vulvas, or cervixes.
- 1% of men and 15% of women said that their last sexual encounter was not at all or a little arousing. 4% of men and 15% of women said that their last sexual encounter was not at all or a little pleasurable.
In news that shouldn't surprise us, people, especially young people, are getting their sex education from porn. It's not that XXX Avengers or Jailhouse Heat aren't good and artful films. But they don't showcase the range and beautifully diverse ways people can have and enjoy sex. It's not that we're trying to hurt each other, but if all we have to work with is a jackhammer... well you know what I'm saying.
Wait! It gets worse!
- 75% of men and 50% of women didn't tell their partners they were in pain, citing reasons such as fear of hurting their partner's feelings, or not wanting to stress them out.
- 37% of women said anal sex was painful. 20% said it was ALWAYS painful. A 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior found that as many as 40-45% of women and men in some age groups had tried anal sex.
With so many people using the back door, we need a better welcome mat.
Translation: more resources on anal health and pleasure.
So what's the verdict? We aren't talking to each other as much as we should. We need to communicate with the people that we have sex with and tell them what we like, what we're curious about, what works not at all, and what hurts for god's sake.
Sharing intimacy with our partners isn't just about the moves, or the toys, or the lube or the porn, or the pills, or the swing, or whatever. The hottest and kinkiest sex move is not, contrary to popular opinion, the double reverse cowgirl. It's to be vulnerable, open and honest with our partners.
Sex can be an expression of our aliveness, our spirit, our creativity, our bodies, our agency, our insecurities, our perversions, our interests, and our savage and shadowy beauty.
I work with people all the time, who are just thirsty to turn rote sexual activity into sexual expression and liberation. I help clients inquire into their sexual narratives and lose the confining underwire of introjects and beliefs that is cutting into their skin. This might take confronting rigid belief systems, fears of rejection, care-taking tendencies, or difficulty receiving pleasure. It's not easy work, but it's well worth it.
No matter who we are, we are all sex educators, activists, consumers and producers of sex, every last one of us. If we want things to change, we have to do one thing and do it now:
Be the sex we want to see in the world!
So, if it's easier for you to say baby shower than golden shower, ... if foreplay means turning off the TV, ... if you think that topping is just for frozen yogurt... you've gotta get wordy to get dirty. Seriously, start talking.
Here's a list of some quickie resources to get your conversations started.
Lonely Forever? No way.