Sex is everywhere. Sexualised images are on billboards, TV and in magazines, flaunting the desirability of products, sold by attractive, titillating bodies. If we buy these products we may just manage to have our share of the sexual frisson as well. Most pop songs are filled with references to 'going down' 'losing control' or 'riding it', and judging by the sales and downloads it seems most people can relate to these themes.
Despite this, sex remains a universally taboo subject matter. There is a sea of difference between using the promise of sex to sell a product to people you don't know and turning to your friends to get some advice on your vaginal dryness. It turns out that having honest and vulnerable conversations about sex is the ultimate taboo. These conversations cross-pollinate with other vulnerabilities: we may have to share that our body is behaving differently to what we deem 'normal', that our gender or race issues have come up in our relationships that we no longer love or feel attracted to our partner. All this related stuff can be painful; it's virtually impossible to not get flooded with it when we get vulnerable around sex.
So, what can we receive from talking about sex?
A gateway to authenticity – sexual desire at its core is a raw and real part of our humanity, expressing it creates more space for our true self to show up in the world and flourish.
More connection with a partner – talking about sex in a relationship can be scary, but it brings rewards of having fulfilling sex and knowing that talking about it will help it evolve over time and continue to nurture everyone involved.
Universality of shared experience – 40% of women in America have reported ‘sexual concerns’ and many more have concerns they don’t share, so talking to your friends about sex could change lives. You never know what someone else is going through.
The right treatment – sometimes issues around sex need treatment and a diagnosis, talking to medical professionals and allied therapists/bodyworkers is an important part of the healing process.
Freedom from shame – society, religion and culture instill shame within us from a young age, over time this shame turns into walls of fear and silence that stifle creativity, growth and empowerment. We feel small and don’t really know why. Breaking free from this is a process involving many avenues and sexuality is definitely one of them
Our stories matter – workshop participants often tell me that being witnessed or witnessing the sharing of vulnerable stories is what expands them the most and brings healing. Collectively, our stories allow different narratives to emerge around who we are as women and inspire future generations (as well as ourselves) to let go of our fears and step into the fullness of ourselves.
This list is definitely not exhaustive and everyone is different, so as always individual experiences will vary. In order to have growth-filled conversations though, it’s important to find safe spaces where this is possible and you can be yourself and be heard, without judgment or fear. These spaces are few and far between, so if you feel called to I would invite you to create them in your community with people you trust. This is something I have loved doing on my journey where I often rely on community as a source of support, sustenance and most importantly, hope for the future.