In a world of marketable insecurities, to love your body seems like some grand act of rebellion. To let someone else love it, whilst openly admitting to it, seems totally outrageous. We fall into the trap of assuming people see the worst in us, already resigning ourselves to that person not fancying us back, not thinking we’re attractive. And if someone does believe in themselves and acknowledges they think someone is attracted to them (because why shouldn’t they be?), it’s a scandalous admission of bravery and vanity. To hide your belief in your sexual appeal behind a curtain of hesitation makes us relateable, humble, and protected from any potential rejections. It’s safe. But it shouldn’t be.
This mindset progresses with us further than just the level of sexual attraction. We have a similar uncertainty for discussing sex itself. It becomes an awkward topic, too easily we either become over-sharers who spill too many details, or prudes who keep the whole story to themselves. It somehow feels impossible to share the right amount. It becomes a case of what is deemed appropriate to talk about and what is not.
“Most of us are having it and many more of us are thinking about it, so why is it still so taboo to speak openly about it?”
Sex should be good — no, it should be great. It should be worth talking about, even screaming about. Most of us are having it and many more of us are thinking about it, so why is it still so taboo to speak openly about it? Why must we tiptoe around the realities of sexual attraction to conform to some unspoken guidelines? Why can we only ever talk about sex if it’s in a hushed, gossiping tone, or an educational leaflet telling you to use protection (but also, please use protection)?
People who talk openly about their sex lives become talking points themselves. We’re taken aback when someone speaks directly about good experiences they’ve had, without innuendos or telling facial expressions. It’s all kept shamefully private. You sleep with someone and then can barely acknowledge them in public. You are asked how you know someone and it’s somehow scandalous to say you met on a dating site because these things are meant to be private, they’re meant to be personal, and therefore they’re meant to be secret.
“Once you can talk about sex, and unashamedly admit to having it just because you want to, the whole conversation changes.”
I don’t think that this should be the case. I think sex should be spoken about openly. If you’re having a good time you should be able to talk about it, you should be allowed to say you think people fancy you, or if you’re attracted to them. Once you can talk about sex, and unashamedly admit to having it just because you want to, the whole conversation changes. Talking about the good parts opens the conversation to being able to talk about the parts that maybe weren’t as good. It means we can discuss boundaries and preferences without feeling uncomfortable, and we can ask questions we’re currently too scared to ask for fear of embarrassment. Normalising the conversation means we get rid of the scandal attached to the act, so it no longer matters whether or not you’ve had sex yet, or how many people you’ve had it with. Once we get rid of the seeming scandal of sex, we get rid of some of the judgement and the entire experience becomes normalised. No longer do you have to pretend to be enjoying something you’re not, because let’s be honest — your priority during sex should be you. It should be fun and it should be safe and that only comes with communication. Imagine how much more effective sex ed would be if everyone could talk about it without giggling and blushing.
Open conversations are good. Be honest and clear. It’s good to enjoy it, and it’s good to talk about what you need to enjoy it. Sleep with whoever you want (as long as it’s consensual), and don’t be afraid to own that experience. It’s your body and it’s up to you what to do with it; let it be appreciated, appreciate it. Sex is normal, and it’s time we treated it as such.