Public Sex Talk

On a recent flight, while I had the window seat, the woman next to me in the middle seat asked what I do. Upon telling her I share “How To” skills for healthy intimacy while working to reduce sexual assault and increase support for survivors, she shared that she just recently had a sexuality discussion with her thirteen-year-old daughter.

Soon we were discussing the challenges parents have with facilitating “the Talk” with their teens, how best to address giving advice on healthy sexual activity, and helping teens have a positive body awareness.

Due to the sensitivity of the conversation, we were both keeping our voices at significantly quieter levels than normal. Then I suddenly noticed the person sitting in our row’s aisle seat had taken her newspaper, folded it in half, and put it up against her ear as a wall towards us and our conversation.

Why does sensible sex talk remain so taboo? What if we had been discussing eating, exercise, or work (actually I was talking about work) – regular activities people regularly engage in? When no one is revealing personal behaviors and/or using offensively graphic descriptions, why can’t we talk about sex in public, especially when trying to help people improve their ability to prepare their teenagers for such important decision-making skills?

Without needing to reveal personal likes, dislikes, and/or experiences, how comfortable are you talking about sex –with fellow adults or children or teens in an appropriate context– for the sake of listening to learn from each other? What elements of sex do you wish more people would talk about openly?

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