Sex is about communication.
Communication is a two way street.
How many more Cosmo-style cliches do I need to quote before you puke? Let’s write them in Helvetica against an instagrammed picture of a sunset and share on Twitter with #motivation.
Any sex-related article will draw your attention to the need of communicating with your partner(s). Occasionally, it will even advice to work on “improving your communication”. Rarely will we see anyone actually explaining what it means.
It’s like saying depression comes from lack of self-esteem, and suggesting that an obvious way out is to by improve you self-esteem. Oh, so simple! so easy! To me it reads the same as “just eat three walnuts at full moon, and behold, your self-esteem will sky-rocket”.
Stating that a simple way to improve your sex life it to “simply communicate” falls in the same category of pointless advice.
It bothers me.
It might seem harmless — just one of many cliches repeated ad infinitum. However, blind repetition of something without further thought is probably not a feature that characterises self-conscious members of society. The only way you can use such one-liners is to function as reminders of deeper conclusions you reached yourself.
Once you arrived at the (at least temporary) peak of understanding, you can descend to again to the summary-style fundaments. This way the catchphrases function as triggers of the deeper lessons you had previously learned.
A lot of people, however, don’t use catchphrases this way.
Repetition of communication one-liners as a sole mean of education can do a lot of harm. The three basic problems it can lead to are:
- Misinterpretation. A lack of precise definition of communication allows for misinterpretation.
- False image. It creates a false image of communication about sex being simple. It’s not.
- Blame. It implicitly blames you for not knowing how to communicate. Since the process is so simple, and everybody is proficient, then the fact you have problems with communication makes you a moron.
“I asked him if it was ok if I fondled his balls, and he said ‘yea alright’.” This kind of exchange is, in most cases, not enough.
Turn on the TV to any politics debate to witness that talking doesn’t always equal communicating. Without shared definitions of what communication should involve we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. It’s worth taking time to set expectations and to define what each party means when they say “communicate with me”.
Communication about and during sex is hard.
There are many reasons why communication can be hard. This list is likely to leave you depressed and hopeless about the topic, but worry not. There will be more posts focusing on how we can address these issues.
Lack of models.
Rarely do we have good communication models around us when growing up — if you did you’re lucky! You might have gotten a lecture about pregnancy and STIs prevention from your parents or educators — and you should be grateful even for that. Without examples to emulate, it’s natural we don’t know. Media focuses on tits, and any film including open communication about sex is probably banned, or is a four-hour French niche production without subtitles.
Lack of practice.
As in many other enthusiastically commenced endeavours, also in sex we might think we’ll figure out communication as we go along. That rarely happens. We do come up with some habits though — usually imperfect ones.
If we aren’t lucky to come across a communicative partner, there is almost no chance to pick up different habits. Often, we don’t even have the right words to describe how we feel.
Sex is still taboo.
Even on FetLife, a place where hardly anything is a taboo topic, it seems it’s easier to list face-fucking among your fetishes, than to verbally ask to be caressed on the thigh during a play session. Not even the hard-core kinksters have communication hacked.
Myth of “the mood”.
Talking about sex, planning a scene, and giving feedback during the event is, for some people, synonymous with spoiling the “sexy mood” 🙄 . There is sill a prevalent myths that sex should be focused around romantic understatement and surprise. Even more damaging is the belief in the omniscience of the partner – that they should simply always “know what to do”.
I’m sure it’s not just me who thinks talking about sex is hot? (Please tell me I’m not alone).
Planning a scene can increase arousal and is likely to make you both/all feel safer. Feedback during a play session shows you’re a responsible, self-aware adult. It is only likely to contribute to the overall enjoyment of the event, rather than the reverse. There is a good episode of the Dildorks about the myth of spoiling the mood, which I recommend. The conclusion is that there is no such thing as the mood in the first place. In a post modern spirit we can say that mood is a social construct .
You are not to blame.
Hopefully the above has made clear it’s not your fault if you find communication hard. In the face of all these environmental hardships it’s pretty natural we all start off as rubbish in talking about sex.
However, that doesn’t mean you can use any of it as an excuse: be it your puritan parents, orthodox school, rubbish TV offering, or a selection of quiet partners. Now, that you read all this wisdom, it’s the reverse — you should feel the urge to work on it. The fact that you gained awareness means you also gained responsibility.
So now it’s your task to…
Sorry not sorry folks.
There is much more to say. But education research reveals knowledge is best absorbed in small chunks. This was your chunk for today.
 This is btw, one of my favourite catchphrases, you can substitute “mood” with any other noun and have a laugh. Penis is a social construct. Iceland is a social construct. 😂 I’m having a blast here…