Why talking about sex is so important
Caitlin always makes an effort to have open and honest conversations about sex to help friends feel comfortable
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sex. The word ‘sex’ alone is enough to make some people cringe or feel embarrassed. It’s not a bad word and yet we tend to treat it as one. Starting to have sex can be a scary experience for some young adults so we can’t brush the topic under the carpet. It’s important to have conversations to make everyone feel at ease and finally get rid of the taboo. Talking about sex, whether it’s with your partner or with a group of friends, is fun and has lots of positive benefits
In my opinion, having a conversation will always be more valuable than what you’ll ever find online. However, because of the stigma around sex, most people feel more comfortable searching for answers on the internet. But sometimes the information found online is not the best and can put more pressure on young people to think or act a certain way. Everyone is at different stages of their sexual life because everyone has different experiences with different people. This doesn’t mean we can’t relate to other people’s issues. Having open conversations about sex can open help us all feel more comfortable and supported.
Having open conversations
I would definitely consider myself very open to talking about sex and I would always be very comfortable starting a conversation on it. When meeting up with friends I make sure to check in at some stage and see how they’re feeling in their relationships or sexual lives. This normalises it and creates a safe open space to share experiences and ask questions. I do believe there are societal pressures in feeling like you have to have had sex by a certain age or when you’re in college, which I think is an unhealthy mindset. From talking with friends, I discovered that they also felt this pressure which allowed me to relax and not feel alone. I feel like it’s a fun and necessary topic to talk about, especially as we’re young and easily excited.
Dating and hook up apps
In this modern world there has been a change in the way we view sex. With new apps such as Tinder and Grindr there are new opportunities to find sexual partners. But they also come with risks where you may end up feeling uncomfortable in certain situations. Due to the nature of these apps we aren’t familiar with the person we’re texting and we could also be looking for different things. Some people want to find their true love and others might just want a hookup. This can be confusing if you haven’t discussed what you’re both looking for from the beginning.
It’s common that these apps are passed around on a night out for the craic but when you’re by yourself, receiving some messages may make you feel uncomfortable. Whether it’s about sharing personal information, asking to chat on other social media, or if they’re encouraging to meet up with you, you may feel like you’re being put in an awkward situation if you don’t want to do these things. If you do feel this way, it can help to message or meet up with a friend to explain how you’re feeling. If there’s a voice at the back of your head saying you’re not comfortable with the situation, remember you don’t deserve to feel that way and you should not feel pressured into anything you’re not comfortable with.
There can be pressures when it comes to sending or receiving sexts and they can often take people by surprise, especially if you’re just started to get to know someone. It’s up to you if you want to respond or not. Even the smallest doubts should be opened up about because it can give you a new perspective. Chances are someone else was worried about the same thing and you’ve helped them as well.
Friends with benefits
If you are ‘friends with benefits’ it’s important to make sure there is clear communication between all parties. It’s important to understand what your partner is comfortable with and what they enjoy. It’s also extremely important to make sure the other person consents to what is happening. Consent can be verbal or non-verbal, and should always be enthusiastic, voluntary and ongoing. It’s also necessary to explore your needs with your partner so you both enjoy yourself and feel comfortable. Discussions about what you enjoy, what you don’t feel comfortable with, how often you like to have sex, and what protection you want to use are important conversations to have.
No matter how you feel about sex, whether you’re using an online app to find a partner, you’re in a committed relationship, or hooking up with a friend, it’s important to try communicate constantly with your partner and your friends. There is no right or wrong way to have sex, even if society might make you feel otherwise. If you feel like someone you know is struggling with their sex life or has an unhealthy approach to sex reach out to them and start a conversation.