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About Fcking Time We Stopped Talking About Sex

It’s difficult to say whether, if Jane Eyre* were to attend your fantasy dinner party, she would be more shocked by our iPhones or our frankness when it comes to discussing sex. Our culture has undergone a vast shift when it comes to decorum, and whether we care for it. The answer is usually no. As a society, we should doubtless feel quite proud that we’ve gone from ‘reader, I married him’ to ‘he tosses my salad like his name’s Romain’ in less than two hundred years. Sexual modesty has shrunk along with the size of our dresses, and we’re now as happy to talk about sex with our friends, as we are to talk about our jobs. Indeed, sex is often a much safer topic for a dinner party given the terminal dullness of most office work. Yet sexual openness can come at the cost of privacy and intimacy in our most private and intimate relationships.

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The first time a friend refused to talk about his sex life with me, I was offended. The only good thing about your friends summarily abandoning you for new partners is the vicarious joy of hearing about all their pleasure, or lack of. Talking about sex is the main way most people in our generation learnt how to do it; any man that compliments my oral skills has my gay friends to thank. Sex and the City may set unrealistic expectations of what a woman’s wardrobe might look like, but the portrayal of friendship is much more on point. Relationships cross a line when you start having sex; friendships cross a line when you start talking about it. My friend’s refusal to chat about sex with me felt like a rejection; I had tried to cross that intimacy line, and he had rebuffed me. At the time, his claim that sex was private seemed, at best, a poor reflection of my judge of character. It took a few years to realize that perhaps the privacy of his sexual relationship was more important than the openness of our friendship.

 

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Unless sexual education videos have vastly improved since my tenure at school, talking about sex is close to a necessity for teenagers. If it weren’t for my friends, I would have probably never realized you weren’t meant to blow during a blowjob until it was far, far too late. Without talking about sex, it’s harder to identify whether a guy is pushing you too hard and too fast. Without advice, forgoing a condom might start to seem logical. Even at University, with sexual street cred at respectable levels, you’re likely to stumble across new first times. How safe do your friends play it when they send a naked selfie? What do people do before they have anal? Has your boyfriend ever lost his erection? Asking those sorts of questions of your friends is more valuable than any book could ever be, but invariably you begin to run out. It’s both a reassuring and depressing reality that by our mid-twenties, most sexual situations we’ll encounter will be either replicas or variations of things we’ve encountered before. Our sexy selfie game is down, we know how we feel about anal, and we’ve all had at least one guy too drunk to keep it up.

 

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When all our sexual questions have been answered, the one question left is what’s the point in talking about it? Unless the sex is, for better or worse, remarkable, is it really necessary to share it with your friends? By our mid-twenties, most of us enter new relationships with at least a faint hope that it might last. If it does last, that time he farted during sex might stop being such an amusing in-joke between you and your friends. The hallmark of our generation could just be how close we are to our peers. With more of us going to University and rising housing prices forcing us to live together for longer, it’s difficult not to start feeling like your friends are your family. Sharing everything with your friends, however, makes privacy difficult to establish in romantic relationships. If nothing is sacred, true intimacy can be hard to build. It would doubtless horrify most girls if their boyfriends shared the amount of detail with their friends as we do with ours. Maybe we should start affording sex a little more respect; the person we’re doing it with might one day the most important person in our life. Sex should never be a secret, but perhaps it should sometimes be sacred.

 

*It goes without saying that Jane Eyre no way makes the cut for my fantasy dinner party list. (J.K Rowling, Draco Malfoy, Tom Hiddleston, Caitlin Moran, George R. R. Martin).

 

Photos by Marina Montoya, Jenny Downing, Cristian V., Jennie Park,  and Miguel Pires da Rosa,

Red is a staff writer for AFT. Her interests include eating too much, drinking too much and saying too much. She believes in sex that makes you lose yourself, and in the thousand different ways to get there. Outside the bedroom, she likes board games, yoga and scented candles. Inside the bedroom, she likes most things. You can find her on Twitter @Lexical_Life.

  • http://harmonystore.co.uk Harmony

    It’s certainly a lot easier to talk about your sexual jaunts when you’re single, compared to discussing the intimate details for your sex life when you’re in a long term relationship. Perhaps this is because you don’t expect your mates to get to know a Friend with Benefits, so it’s not as odd or creepy to divulge how good they were in the sack, compared to trying to explain to chums that really intense, mind-blowing sex sesh you had with your long-term partner that involved a lot of eye gazing and synchronised breathing. The latter certainly doesn’t make for such a good gossipy story.