Vocabularies, Conversations, Connection

There is a fantastic series up at Good Men Project on Our Sexual Vocabulary and two of the pieces are mine. The series runs the gamut from body parts to non-monogamy to how to actually get the conversation started.

And conversations are important. We can’t connect with each other as people unless we are able to communicate. And if we don’t share the same vocabulary, understand the same words, those conversations are going to be hard to have.

Mind you, I didn’t say we wouldn’t have conflict. Conflict is a part of understanding, of learning, and of finding the connection (or sometimes, sadly, severing it) between people.

I find it stunning that we spend so much time in this country suppressing conversation, real conversation, about sex. Sex ed is barely basics in Texas. Plan B just got kiboshed by Sebelius. Little kids are being accused of Sexual Harassment when I bet they don’t even know the names of their parts. Meanwhile we promote and support the oddest of opposites in our media and culture. Highly sexualized images, movies, music (and it’s not that I mind it, but I find it boggling you have one without the other).

I know so many parents who are paralyzed by the idea of talking to their kids about sexuality and puberty. I don’t understand it one bit. I know couples who can’t figure out how to get what they want from each other. They feel “awkward” talking to each other.

I hear stories in the news about concepts like enthusiastic consent, but I don’t know how we’ll get there unless we are able to actually speak, to each other, with words that have to do with our bodies and our feelings.

Even if they are provocative, difficult. Even if we mess up. As we say in Bedposts, we don’t filter the fantasy, but we want to provide a forum for the conversations afterward. Messing up is going to happen. Conversation can get weird and awkward. But isn’t it better than living in silence and hoping for the best?

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