07.18.13 Sexuality

Why Is Sex So Dirty? To Talk About, That Is.

Why Is Sex So Dirty? To Talk About, That Is.

BY Alexa Lustró

It recently dawned on me that I know absolutely nothing about some of the women in my life- sexually, that is.

We just don’t really talk about it. Sex. I think, perhaps, that I kind of thought that we were. But it’s always in that intangible fake way, isn’t it? What I mean is that we’re always vaguely alluding to it. Oh my word, so amazingly hot. Borderline boring. He didn’t really know what he was doing. We have lots of chemistry. It was such a fun night. Dot dot dot.

Which is why it took me a while to realize that speaking about sex: how you like it, how to make it better, where you learned what, if you’ll do that, what you’re sure works- is just… not really happening.

Why Is This Always So Painfully Awkward?

I noticed it the other night while out to dinner with some friends. One of the women at the table was talking about the date she’d finally spent the night with, and she said, “So then we went home, and we had great chemistry, and it was a really fun time, anyways…” and I wondered if those details would ever be shared.

At the risk of making a vast and sweeping generalization, women are supposed to be the communicative ones of the species, right? So why is it that we don’t feel comfortable trusting each other enough to speak about that part of ourselves? I know, I know. Sex is personal. But we’re already speaking about every other part of our daily lives, so why leave this part out?

I sometimes over share by nature, so I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of those who may perhaps, possibly, potentially be slightly more reserved than I am when it comes to these things. As someone who thinks sex is something to be celebrated as a regular part of life, I’ve certainly gotten a few tense looks and strained smiles over the years, mostly due to my distaste for the euphemisms like “great chemistry” that I mentioned before.

I’m really curious as to whether all the not talking about it can be any good for us. Are we all meant just keep going about our own business and pretend like it’s not happening? Why aren’t women swapping sex tips the way we do recipes or cookbooks? Instead, we seem to think that this is a self-taught discipline, or something only learned from our partners. A stupendously eloquent musician I know put it brilliantly: “I just always think of it like an apprenticeship. You’ve got to learn on the job.”

Hilarious. Intensely accurate. But also kind of preposterous, and alienating.

We have access to an information network (read: every single woman we know) from whom we really could get actual advice about how to improve our sex lives, but we just don’t. For fear of over sharing. For fear of appearing too curious. Too sexual. Too pervy. Too incompetent. Are you really telling me that we were all supposed to casually and smoothly transition from virgin to full-fledged sexpert? Who did that? Because I definitely, at the very least, missed the day when we were supposed to learn that spooning position. It’s totally lost on me, honestly. Is someone teaching a class?

Tips for Opening Up

I got into some pretty deep sex talk with my roommates over the weekend, which gave me real hope for the future of female communication worldwide. In a moment of pretty perfect cosmic timing, I’d been attempting to write out some ideas for this very article earlier in the day, and, lo and behold that very same night I found myself attempting to get into that goddamn spooning position. It was a pretty giggle-worthy experience, explaining how I had literally just written this one-liner earlier in the afternoon, which had then yet again been proven in the sack.

“Oh my god, wait, seriously, you can’t do spooning? But it’s amazing? Okay, I don’t know what I’m talking about at all, but here’s what I think…”

The trick is to ease in slowly. But seriously, as I mentioned before, I think most of us would admit that while we’re not experts, we probably have a trick or two worth sharing. If you want to speak more openly with the women in your life about your sexual endeavors— and I highly recommend that you do— come from a place of truth and humor and trust. That’s where most conversations worth having start anyways, don’t they? Oh, and be willing to share our own experiences, instead of snooping around for someone else’s. People share when they’re being shared with; those are just the rules of the playground.

Go ahead and give it a test drive. There’s so much joy and empowerment in being able to, oh, I don’t know, release the animal within. To get some advice about a new position. To celebrate a drunken conquest. To have the kind of friendship that allows for honest conversation without pretense or judgement, in which you can seriously just go ahead and get down to it.

I completely fell in love with Zoe Saldana when she answered Amanda’s classic sex position question this week. Starting into a in-depth explanation about her tips and tricks for when she’s on top: “Why am I stuttering? It’s so fucking natural.”

Preach, girl. It’s human nature, this crazy little thing called lovemaking. Just like everything else good and wonderful, I’m going to go ahead and say it’s something worth chatting about.

Alexa Lustró is a writer, songstress and all-around slightly snarky creative type. She tends to be easily spotted in a crowd due to her hair, and prides herself on making a pretty great cup of tea. While she continues her threats of expatriating for good, she resides--for now--in San Francisco. Her debut EP, The Mezcla, was released in early 2013, available for you to check out on iTunes, Spotify, or Bandcamp. You can follow her general life musings and wanna-be pop culture critic commentary on Twitter at @alexalustro.

Comments

  • Liz

    [ Items 13 – 15 of 29 ]

    My Mother, Misogyny, Marriage and Me.
    ​ – Anon

    Id like to start by saying thank you for this opportunity to speak out about this. I am an almost 40 year old woman currently living in a sexless marriage.

    I met my then future husband in 1992 when I was 19 and he was 42. Being quite young I didn’t have a frame of reference for what sex should be like so when it was just basic penetration and nothing else I truly thought that that was just how it was.

    In 1996 he stopped wanting to be with me in that way.

    I turned to food. I gained a lot of weight. We were married in 1998.

    I was brought up in an extremely closed household and as a Catholic ( a religion I rejected long ago) but I was taught growing up that marriage was what you did. I remember a conversation that took place between my mother and me when I was a teen. I was sounding off about things and said I never wanted to get married. She replied “Well what are you going to do then – become a nun?” The message that was frequently sold to me was that you did one or the other. I was also quite naïve for 25 and on my wedding day I still thought that the situation would somehow “right itself”.

    And I still had sexual feelings for him at that point.

    Over the next few years I gained a lot of weight. In 2002 while working in a sex chatline office I started a healthy eating plan while attending a diet class and over the next eighteen months I managed to lose ten stone. I began to feel incredibly lonely. Its not just the sexual act or the lack of it that is missing in situations like this. It is the loss of affection and emotional closeness that leaves the relationship too.

    In June 2003 the day after my 30th birthday I started a new job. It was in that job I met *Adam. I began to feel very attracted to him and the feeling was mutual. I asked *Stuart to go to counselling. He didn’t want to and said it wasn’t worth it.

    I began an affair with *Adam which lasted until January 2008. It was the most eye opening, passionate and exciting time of my life. I finally found out what making love could be like and how wonderful it could be.

    I once made the mistake of confiding in my mother. I did this after someone else told me “She’s your mother. Shell understand.” My mother told me to stop acting like a whore. I explained that *Stuart hadn’t touched me for 7 years and she intimated that was because I was having an affair. But at that point I had only been seeing *Adam for 4 months.

    I now know that the terminology for what my mother was doing is called gaslighting.

    Then she began crying and banging her hand on the arm of the chair demanding that I stay with my husband. It was emotional abuse and blackmail. My mother comes from Italy and was brought up in a different culture. Shaming women for fulfilling their own needs seems to be part of the culture. I do realise though that this may be just my experience.

    I should also say at this point that *Stuart (my husband) is unaware that this conversation with my mother took place even to this day. I continued my affair with *Adam.

    In 2006 *Stuart had a massive heart attack and nearly died. He spent over a week in hospital. Just after one visit the staff nurse took me aside and said to me “He does love you you know. In his own way”. It wasn’t until later on that I was told by another professional that this was a manipulative thing for him to do that I started to wonder why on earth he could talk to a stranger when he couldn’t even talk to me. To this day I still don’t know what he said to that nurse.

    I broke off my affair with *Adam for a short while to care for *Stuart when he came out of hospital.

    I carried on with this dual life for about 18 months but something shifted with *Adam in that time. He became verbally abusive towards me. He would shout at me and lose his temper out of the blue. I ended the affair in January 2008. Even though there was bitterness towards the end losing such a big part of my life overnight nearly broke me.

    I turned back to food and gained back half the weight id lost.

    I coped most of the time and became depressed at other times. And 2 years ago came the catalyst.

    In 2011 my parents had an argument over a jewellery receipt my mother found in my fathers room. (when I moved out of my parents home in 1992 my mum moved into my room). A realisation dawned on me that I have ended up in a very similar situation to my dad. I’ve realised that I’ve fought so hard not to be like my mum that I’ve ended up like my dad.

    I don’t want to get into my seventies and be in that situation.

    I became incredibly depressed and joined a social networking site when I saw a thread on there about women in my situation. It is shocking how common this is. I really thought that this was rare and that I was totally alone. There are more severe cases than mine where there is SEVERE emotional abuse if a woman dares to raise the issue of her partner’s choice of lack of intimacy. I started posting on the feminism boards of the same site and discovered feminism at the late age of 38. From talking to other women on forums about this and very similar situations I discovered a very sinister undercurrent in society with regards to this issue. It seems that when it comes to intimacy issues, it is almost always the woman who gets blamed whether it is the man or the woman who is losing or has lost interest — there is an interesting article which I spotted on the Jezebel website just today which touches upon this issue.

    Before 1991 it was perfectly legal for a man to rape his wife. Not only is this a horrific and abhorrent crime, just the fact that this was legal before that date proves that men’s needs are more highly prioritised than women’s. Thankfully this is now illegal but when it comes to men’s needs trumping women’s not much has changed. There is STILL an assumption in society that women don’t want or need intimacy or sex . This is absolute rubbish.

    I am now back where I was before. I have some weight to lose so have embarked on another healthy eating plan. I feel lonely and lost. I have to lock my needs away. The heart attack left my husband partially disabled. So now he can’t be intimate but in the ten years prior to the heart attack he didn’t want to be.

    The few people that I have confided in tell me im lucky — because hes not hitting me or raping me. I used to agree with them.

    But since discovering feminism I now disagree with what some of my friends have told me. Yes he’s not hitting or raping me. But I am supposed to be grateful? Really???!!! There are many women in this situation whose needs are being ignored and sidelined and if we dare to speak up about it we are slut-shamed or told we don’t need sex (as a GP once told me) — apparently I don’t need sex if I’m not trying to get pregnant.

    There are not many platforms for women in this situation to talk safely about this. This needs to change. I cannot talk to my mother because of her attitude towards women which may come from her culture. Last year when the truth about Jimmy Savile emerged my mother said that the victims should be ashamed for going on TV and talking about it. I was absolutely appalled by her attitude but unfortunately not surprised. I have grown up being exposed to this kind of misogyny and victim-blaming all my life.

    But now im eating healthily again and seem to have confronted and dealt with my comfort eating. I don’t know what the future holds but hopefully it will involve me being mentally and emotionally stronger.

    Thank you for giving me the platform to share these issues and I hope reading this will help other women in similar situations to see that they are not alone

  • Liz

    What Ive posted i wrote for another website a few months ago. With the Madonna/whore complex which a lot of society seem to be affected with when it comes to womens needs, no wonder we find it hard to talk about it.

    • The Conversation

      Thank you so much for sharing, Liz. You brought up some really
      good points. Hopefully we can continue to help keep the conversation
      open for women everywhere.

    • Alexa Lustró

      Thanks so much for sharing your perspective, Liz! You’ve written really powerful article and I totally agree with you about the societal complex. About time for change, eh?

    • Liz

      Thankyou so much Amanda and Alexa. I think the time for change is due too. There is a myth that its mostly women in a marriage that go off sex but its just that… a myth. A lot of men lose interest too but women are afraid to talk about it. Because its usually us that get blamed either way. If a woman is denying her partner intimacy its usually suggested that she should go to a doctor to see whats wrong with her.

      If a man is the one denying intimacy and affection there are usually “helpful” suggestions made to his partner like lose weight, wear sexy underwear etc. So either way the responsibilty of the relationship seems to lie with the woman. But i guess thats patriarchy for you. I lost 140 pounds and it made no difference to my husband but my lover did appreciate me and loved me in the way i had never experienced before.
      There are many many women in this kind of situation afraid to speak out.
      Ive been told that cheating is wrong and that i broke my vows but didnt he break his vows to me too! In the past 2 years i have found strength in feminism which has helped me feel a little stronger. One day i hope to be again the confident sexy self assured woman i was with my ex lover. Unfortunately when the affair ended, being in a marriage of enforced celibacy i have again sought solace in food and regained some weight (but just under half of what i lost) So now i am trying to get back to me and the woman i was meant to be. At 40 years old i am scared i will never find passion again. But the first step is to love myself. So its one step at a time. Thankyou for the space to share xxx

  • CrisTina Scordo

    Sex wasn’t dirty untill it turned into a marketing tool. Somehow love disappeared and now it’s just sex. Z z Z z Z z Z z Z z

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