“Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about Sex.” Remember this from the musical group, Salt ‘N’ Pepa?
People are talking about Sex.
“Curling up with favorite book is nice. But, I think women would rather curl up with their favorite man.” Recognize this line from my favorite erectile dysfunction commercial.
Sex is everywhere, we almost can’t escape it. TV, video games, movies, advertising, etc. Most of the talk is superficial and much is directed toward selling us a product or idea. Places of worship often talk about “sexual purity” and “chastity.” Most of us never learned about sex in an open, healthy way. Instead we were bombarded with these types of mixed messages; our own sexual curiosity and experimentation; peer pressure; or even sexual abuse.
So, what is missing? What are we not talking about?
We’re missing conversations about what we feel, wonder, or even fantasize about. Conversations about what we’d like to feel. Conversations about our expectations in the bedroom and relationships. Conversations with our sexual partners and even with ourselves – openly and honestly.
But there is talk. Everywhere.
So with all this sex talk around us 24/7, why is there still such a fear about getting real and talking about sex, with our partner, our children, or reaching out to doctors, therapists and coaches?
Personally, I think it comes down to not totally loving & accepting ourselves as we are and then choosing to learn to express ourselves in healthy ways.
Often, because there is sex around us 24/7, we compare ourselves and our intimate life to what we see in the media. We compare what our body looks and feels like. We compare what we think is good or bad about sex to what we see. We compare our own private intimate life to what we see portrayed through the various media.
It can be challenging to not compare ourselves and many of us are not strong enough to see those things and look at them objectively, without judging ourselves. It can also be challenging to not judge others and their ideas about and experiences in their sexuality.
Whether we perceive ourselves and our sexuality as good or bad, we’re okay right now. I don’t mean okay as in, yeah, all is good even if you’re miserable or hurting others. I mean this in a way to say, YOU are okay, regardless of what you think or believe about your sexuality and you can change those thoughts, if you want to.
If we want to learn to embrace our sexuality or improve our sexual lives and relationships, we have to begin with accepting what is… even if what is, is not what we want.
A woman I once coached had been kidnapped and raped at about age 15. She was forced to look at pornographic videos during her experience. After that experience, she hated pornography. She also thought it was horrific for men to watch pornography. For here, pornography was connected to harming women. So when she began a relationship with her now husband, it was very distressing to find his stash of porn. She got angry, physically destroyed the porn, and told him porn was a horrible thing. For him, pornography was entertainment and assisted sexual release. He had been a mostly single guy until age 35 and to him, it was a healthy, normal activity to watch porn. To her, it was anything but normal. Those individual beliefs about pornography led to arguments because neither shared the intimate details about their beliefs and experiences with pornography.
It was okay that she didn’t want porn anywhere near her. It was also okay that he liked porn. Sadly, many relationships end over these type of issues and lack of intimate communication. I’m glad that this one did not end. It’s important that we can share the whys behind our thoughts about our sexuality, about what is real to each of us. To really be okay with who we are and sharing who we are on the deepest level with another human being can be a powerful experience.
So, why does this often seem so hard?
Fear of what the partner will think of us. Fear they may leave us. Fear they may tell someone our secrets, Fear that they might think we are bad or damaged or crazy.
Fear is just a feeling, it’s something we can begin to release through love and acceptance. Practicing accepting who we are and why we are and that it’s okay now, helps us see that it can be better and happier if we want it to be.
So how do we begin the process of opening ourselves up to the deepest, most intimate parts of ourselves?
Learn to accept, even love ourselves as we are now.
There are so many exercises you can do in the process, many are deeply personal, take time, and might even be too overwhelming to try at this point. I like to help people start simply, with looking for their good in who they are, in general, right now.
Yes, it can still be hard to do. It may take some time, but you can begin with simple, daily practices.
2. Look in the mirror. Say something nice to yourself. Say something nice about your body.
3. What did you accomplish today? And If you are working toward goal of improving your intimate life, what did you do today toward that goal.
Sometimes people think something this simple can’t make a difference. Because it’s simple, it makes a profound difference. It builds a foundation of strength that supports the deeper work to acknowledge and share our deepest desires with our partners.
Those three steps take just minutes each day and are based on a practice I share in my book, 40 Day LoveFest for you, which you can download free at www.40DayLoveFest.com/freebook. This practice can help you begin your conversation with yourself and about your sexuality. As you build your acceptance of yourself, it gets much easier to really talk about sex. So, in the next part of this series, we’ll delve deeper into loving and embracing our sexuality.
Tina Nies is a Happiness Consultant, Mentor, and Holistic Sexuality Coach. She works with individuals & organizations to build self-love, acceptance, and respect as foundations for success and happiness through programs about Love, Smiles, and the Power of Choice.