Let’s Talk About Sex, Ba-by

By Katie, 5:42 am

Last week I realized that I have been writing a blog about whole-self health for almost a year and a half and have never once written about sex. 8-O

That doesn’t seem right, now does it?

I fully believe that being healthy inside and out means having a healthy sex life, although what that looks like varies greatly from person to person. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds when you consider all of the myths and misconceptions that are floating around out there.

Let’s talk about it, shall we?

Eight Common Myths about Sex

1. Sex isn’t a big deal.

Well, I just flat-out disagree with this. I think sex is a very big deal! How can something so powerful not be a big deal?

I talk a lot on this blog about honoring our bodies, loving ourselves, and respecting others. Are those not the three most important ingredients in the recipe for a healthy sex life? If we’re going to take our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health seriously, we better we taking our sex life seriously too.

2. Sex is just for men. Men need it but women don’t.

UGH! This frustrates me to no end.

Yes, there are differences in how men’s and women’s bodies are physically wired. But the idea that women don’t want or need sex is ridiculous. I have heard so many women complain that they wanted sex more than their male partners, but didn’t feel like they had a right to ask for more. Because they weren’t supposed to feel that way.

It’s very possible that one partner in a relationship wants sex more than the other, and the gender doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are talking openly and honestly about your sexual needs and desires so that as a couple you can reach a mutually acceptable place.

3. All men care about is sex. They cannot control their sexual appetites.

Really? Really?

Sure, there are some scumball men out there who look at all women as sexual objects. But most men actually aren’t like that. Most men are, you know, civilized. Sex may be a priority, but it isn’t the only priority.

Of course, once you have an experience with a scumball it can be really difficult not to view all men through that lens. But we have to remember that lens is a cloudy one.

4. You shouldn’t have sex.

The “sex is evil” message can be pretty strong. If you’re not married, then it’s a sin. If you are married but want to have sex a lot, then you’re a pervert. Bad, bad, bad.

Does anyone realize how many young people – particularly girls – have been scarred and traumatized because they’re told how bad they are for giving away the most precious gift they have, their virginity? The message that sex is the most horrible thing you can possibly do has given many of us a major guilt-complex.

Now I’m not saying everyone should just be going around having meaningless sex; for that, see myth #1. I think there’s a way we can talk about sex – and the importance of the decision to have it – without demonizing those who have experienced it at a time we deem inappropriate or too early.

5. You have to have sex.

Just to make things more complicated, we often get the message that we have to have sex right alongside the message that it’s evil. What?

The decision to have sex is a complex one. There are countless forces and pressures weighing on you, and it can be difficult to sort it all out. Not to mention that many of us have experienced some kind of sexual trauma that can make sex uncomfortable or even frightening.

Sometimes the healthiest sex is no sex at all, you know?

6. Sex = Intercourse

This one bugs me because it assumes that everyone is heterosexual. Also, I know plenty of teenagers who believe that it doesn’t matter what they do sexually so long as they don’t have intercourse before marriage. But that doesn’t really make any sense to me. That makes it sound like sex is only about one certain physical act, instead of about the host of physical and emotional factors that play into it.

7. Sex is a purely physical act.

Based on the above, it’s obvious that I don’t conceive of sex as purely physical. That’s also why I don’t define “sexy” as synonymous with “naked.” The act of sex is a really complicated mixture of physical, mental, and emotional factors, and that mixture can vary from time to time depending on the mood, the players, etc.

8. You shouldn’t talk about sex (and I shouldn’t be writing this blog post!).

If you’re absolutely horrified that I wrote this blog post, then this one is for you! ;-)

I get pretty exasperated with the fact that our society is willing to talk about sex all the time on television, in movie theaters, and in pop music, and yet the idea of having a mature, open conversation about sex seems downright terrible and uncomfortable. Heck, the idea of having a mature conversation about sex with your partner is foreign to many people. If you’re not willing to talk about sex with the person you’re having sex with, something ain’t right, you know?

I’m not condemning people who are shy about sex or who see it as a private thing; I totally get that, and I respect it. But someone has to counteract all of the harmful messages that are out there already, right?  If we don’t start talking about it in a mature way – emphasizing its seriousness and importance – then the only messages available are the ones outlined in the myths above.

And we can’t have that.

__________________________________________________________________________________

In sum, my views on sex are pretty consistent with my views on everything else: we all deserve to be happy and fulfilled. We all deserve to have our needs met. We all deserve to be treated with love and respect, both in and out of the bedroom. There’s no definitive way for this to happen, no singular way it should look or feel. The key is figuring out what’s best for you and your partner personally, and recognizing that you deserve to have that kind of sexual satisfaction in your life.

What do you think? Are you appalled that I wrote this post? Or maybe really glad I did? What do you think about any or all of the myths? Did I miss any that you’ve heard or experienced?

38 Responses to “Let’s Talk About Sex, Ba-by”

  1. Katie, I LOVE you for posting this! Oddly enough, I’m still not comfortable talking about my views on sex, but I’ll definitely say that I agree with everything you said! Thank you for having the courage to discuss this :)

    • Katie says:

      Thank you, Faith! I’d be lying if I said I weren’t a little nervous about hitting “publish” on this one, so your support means a whole lot to me! :)

      • I actually had a more personal response typed out and then freaked before I hit the “add reply” button…so I totally understand – and respect you all that much more for saying what you had to say!

  2. *applause*

    I dont think ENOUGH people talk about it on blogs, at least this community.

    Then again, a lot of lifecasting blogs stay safe and only portray sunshine, with some exeptions of course.

    Thanks for GOING THERE, Katie.

    :)

    • Katie says:

      Thank you, Val! Your comment means a lot to me because I was pretty nervous about putting this out there. I was just worried it wouldn’t be received well. But I totally agree that this subject deserves a lot more attention than it is currently getting!

  3. Marzipan says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Katie I was grinning from the second this post opened up in my reader. Thank you for tackling this topic! It is so eloquent and I know that there are so many people out there that truly need to read it. xxooxoxox

  4. Erin says:

    Hi Katie, I just wanted to say THANK YOU so very much for writing such an articulate, well thought out article about sex. I was very excited to see an article about sex in my Google Reader and I found myself nodding in agreement as I read through your beliefs. Thank you for being open and honest with all of us, hopefully it will catch on and sex will become a topic more of us discuss.
    Thank you once again!
    Erin

    • Katie says:

      Thanks for your support, Erin! I too hope that more and more people will start feeling comfortable talking about this important topic. :)

  5. I could go on and on about my thoughts on sex! In the end, I believe that it’s a biological function that is also really fun and feels really good, not to mention that it’s what makes babies! Somewhere along the line, a very long time ago, some really powerful people wanted to control other people and so they made up these crazy rules about who, when, where, why and how. Those rules did not come from God…they came from people. And I think that’s why society has ended up with “perversion” (which, in my mind is when sex becomes a weapon…a method of hurting someone else without their consent).

    • Katie says:

      I totally agree with you. Sex can indeed be used as a weapon, as a form of control and/or harm. That’s why I think it’s so important that we talk openly about it – so people know that they deserve better than that, that the way they’ve been treated sexually isn’t ok.

  6. Good for you for writing and publishing this! It is such an important topic and every day I struggle with things you mentioned. I’ve always felt that I was raised in a really weird house when it came to sex. There was no balance to it so I have to always adjust my thinking because I know it’s not a healthy way of thinking of things. Thanks so much for writing this!

    • Katie says:

      Thanks for your response, Heidi! I appreciate you chiming in. I can commiserate with your experience, and it definitely makes it difficult. I feel like I’ve had to “re-learn” and “unlearn” a lot of what I formerly understood about sex, if that makes sense.

  7. Meg says:

    You go girl! I’m totally glad you wrote this post in a non-”Cosmopolitan” manner ;) and you were very composed. You covered a lot of great points and I agree with many of them. I thought you had such an interesting point about the fact that sex is everywhere in the media… yet totally taboo to talk about, especially as women. Also, despite the fact that they have more testosterone coursing through their bodies, I think good men do want to emotionally connect as well as physically. It seems for men, physical leads to emotional bonding where as for women, emotional leads to physical bonding.

    I think sex is a very emotional, intimate and wonderful act. It makes me sad seeing young girls who are not mature enough emotionally becoming sexually active. I would like to see self respect become a larger component of sex ed.

    • Katie says:

      I am with you 100%! I think sex education needs to go way beyond the basic physical stuff. I worry that so many young people, especially girls, do things they don’t really want to do, you know? I also like your point about men wanting emotional connection too. That so often gets overlooked because of the physical stuff!

      • Meg says:

        Yes! I think it is sad the number of girls (honestly myself included) who have been swayed to do things they don’t really want to do because they feel it’s “expected” or that “he’ll find someone else who will”.

  8. Dana says:

    I have no issues talking about sex. I have to disagree though, I dont think sex is always a big deal. I think it can be casual and unemotional. The only time it becomes a “big deal” is when there is other things involved besides sexual desire. I know this is not a popular view and my boyfriend completely disagrees with me! We all have our opinions though…

    xx

    • Katie says:

      That’s very true, and I appreciate your willingness to share your perspective with me!

  9. Dana says:

    I have no issues talking about sex. I have to disagree though, I dont think sex is always a big deal. I think it can be casual and unemotional. The only time it becomes a “big deal” is when there is other things involved besides sexual desire. I know this is not a popular view and my boyfriend completely disagrees with me! We all have our opinions though…

    xx

  10. Becca says:

    Yes. Times 8.

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the “supposed to” of sex – from when I was single and felt I was supposed to be doing the Cosmo-style thing, to being pregnant and being told that the second trimester is when you’re supposed to be really frisky.

    Heck, if it’s between consenting, fully-informed adults, it’s all good, whatever form it takes.

    • Katie says:

      Yes, yes, and yes!

      • Katie says:

        By the way, I hope you’re doing well! I remember your recent blog post with a health scare.

    • Yes, it could be very confusing for a single woman having Sex in the City/Cosmo-style sex portrayed as the norm all the time right alongside the “evil” factor – two totally opposite ends of the spectrum. I think like with a lot of things, it comes down to balance, at least for me.

      And I’ve learned that there are very few “supposed to’s” in pregnancy that actually apply to everybody, lol.

  11. McKella says:

    I think it’s great that you wrote this! For the most part, I think I’ve always had a healthy attitude towards sex and it wasn’t taboo in my family. We didn’t talk about it at the dinner table or anything, but my mom was always fine to talk about it if I wanted to know something.

  12. peacebeme says:

    I am definitely NOT appalled by this post. Totally agree!

  13. Shawnee says:

    You made me giggle when you said “if you’re not willing to talk about sex with the person you’re having sex with…” Cracks me up. Great post.

  14. I love sex and love talking about sex. It’s a NATURAL thing that should be enjoyed in the right situations.

    About the sex=intercourse. I’ve thought for a long time that oral sex is actually much more intimate than regular sex. Maybe that’s just me, but for body parts to be that close to your face, mouth, etc…I think you really need to trust that person. That’s intimate to me.

    • Katie says:

      I totally see what you’re saying. It’s even more proof that the focus on intercourse specifically is missing the whole point!

  15. Nicole., RD says:

    I love it and agree 110% with every point you made! Woot woot!

  16. No apologies needed. Sex and body image often go hand in hand. For instance, on that Body Confessions site, I found many comments where women were saying they were so insecure about their bodies that their husbands hadn’t seen them naked with the lights on in YEARS. As I said in a recent post, that’s way more detrimental to their relationships than “how fat” their husbands MIGHT think they look (and probably wouldn’t). Even on days when I’m feeling “off” about my body, I know my hubs would rather see it than not be allowed to see it, so I throw my insecurities aside for a while, and I end up being as glad as he is that I did because I end up feeling that much more confident about my body.

    • P.S. I’m gonna have that song stuck in my head for the rest of the day now. ;)

      • Katie says:

        Haha I’ve been singing it all day! ;)

        You make such a great point! Body image issues can have a very detrimental effect on sex and relationships. I’ve found, like you have, that letting go of my insecurities in the bedroom allows me to be closer to my husband WHILE improving how I feel about my own body. Win-win situation!

  17. Cammy says:

    Glad you did put up a post on this! Can be a pretty complex issue and the fact that it’s stigmatized means a lot of people let their issues with it go unresolved. One aspect of sexuality is that it’s a GREAT reward for taking good care of your body, by which I mean keeping yourself healthy enough to enjoy it and feel confident about it. Going through weight restoration when recovering from an eating disorder is basically like Puberty 2.0. Except it happens right at a time when you’re very aware that your body is definitely expanding, which creates all kinds of internal turmoil about wanting something but being embarrassed about your new size…even though it’s that newly restore health that is rekindling libido in the first place…tough spot to work through! But in the end, with a caring and understanding partner, it can also be extremely validating to realize that having a “real body” is indeed attractive, sexy, and a whole lot more fun than being sick…

    • Katie says:

      Beautifully-said, Cammy! Thank you for sharing this awesome articulation of both the struggles and rewards of embracing sexuality while recovering from an eating disorder.

  18. bubu says:

    Interesting post and comments… I’ve been ruminating on it because I wasn’t sure what, if anything, I might have to add. Weirdly, as someone who talks and writes a lot, sex is one area where I just prefer to talk less – I don’t find anything offensive or wrong with taling about it, I’m just not always sure it helps. I’m with the school of “it’s good for a relationship, it’s enjoyable, sometimes you should just go for it even if the mood or circumstances are not perfect, because it is important for connecting with your partner (plus it’s just fun).” We are such a talk-filled society, and sometimes I think too much talk is overkill and we end up talking about sex instead of just doing it – if there are real problems, of course it should be talked about and worked through, but for day to day, I’m more of a “less talk, more action” kind of gal.

    • Katie says:

      Interesting point, and I’m really glad you shared. The reason I think talking about sex is important is because I do think there’s a lot of inaccurate, harmful information floating around that I’d like to counteract. But really, the ultimate goal is to turn that talk into positive action.

  19. [...] Let’s talk about sex baby. Katie says that, “I fully believe that being healthy inside and out means having a healthy sex life, although what that looks like varies greatly from person to person.” Read what Katie has to say about sex. [...]

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