Learning to Talk About Sex

Posted November 12, 2012 by Monica O'Connell in Life After Five

I love talking about things that typically make other people feel uncomfortable, especially in the therapy world. Those uncomfortable topics are usually money and sex. Last week I presented at a fall conference for marriage and family therapists in Minnesota, and I covered how therapists talk about sex. On CGN, I used the popular book “50 Shades of Gray” to begin a conversation about sex.  And since Kelley Long has the conversation about finances covered weekly, I thought I’d stick to sex for this chat today.

One of the reasons why it’s so great to talk about sex with my clients is because people aren’t often talking about their sex practices — with anyone. In the conversations I had with female therapists, many of them noted that talking to their girlfriends about their own sexual practices and preferences usually didn’t occur. However, most of them noted that the conversation would have been helpful. For example, one person said she was really struggling with how to keep up the fun in her relationship, while she and her husband struggled through infertility treatments. She felt embarrassed and waited quite a while to talk to her friends. Once she had, however, they were full of information. Her shame about infertility and about disclosing that she and her husband may not have been having the best sex life due to the stress kept her quiet.

I’ve also learned that people are quite curious about how to make their lives better, and a component of people’s lives is sexual.  Here’s a huge news flash for everyone: adults enjoy sex and orgasms and connection. However, the stigma of talking about sex prevents people from maximizing their knowledge and sexual selves. Whenever you’re ready to explore more, I’m sure you’ll find a friend or two who would love to have a conversation with you.  If that’s not the case, I’d love to, and you know how to reach me.

Another way to increase your information about sex is through the Smitten Kitten, either online or at their store in Minneapolis. I mentioned TSK the last time I talked about sex. They’ve come up as a resource for me time and time again. Clare, who is the Smitten Kitten business manager, came and spoke at the conference where I was presenting. A group full of therapists gave incredible feedback about the information she provided and mentioned how inviting she made the conversation. They also commented about how, afterwards, they began having more conversations with their support network about sex.

Talking about sex helps to knock out the societal expectation that we aren’t supposed to and that it’s taboo. It also helps us connect deeper into our relationships with not only our partners but our girlfriends. And it helps us to have better sex.

About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”