Relationships

Let's Talk About Sex

We did it in college — all of the time — so why are we so timid about it in our 40s and 50s?

Other than the act itself, there’s nothing I love more than talking about sex with my girlfriends. The joy that comes from having a no-holds-barred conversation about what you did with, or desire to do with, your man or woman is why God invented girlfriends in the first place.

For me, talking about sex with friends isn’t just fun, it’s educational. I didn’t know what a G-spot was until one of my girlfriends mentioned hers. The result — a hunt for my own G-spot. And it was from one of my girlfriends that I learned about clitoral and vaginal orgasms. “How will I know the difference?” I asked. “Explain.” She tried, and I watched her expression of bliss morph into one of frustration as I grilled her, hoping to understand. “You’ll know it when it happens,” she said finally, reminding me of that ineffable quality of sex so famously identified by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.

Not surprisingly, our discussions have changed over the years. In college, my friends and I always talked about sex. We’d be there to help a friend meet a man she was interested in, and if we saw a friend’s boyfriend breaking code, we’d be sure to let him know of our watchful presence. At that time, our focus was on the conquest, while today it’s more about deepening our ability to find, create and maintain pleasure. That is, when we do talk about sex.

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As we get older, it seems that talking about our sexuality has become taboo. Perhaps we develop a fear that exposure of our sex lives will threaten our relationship with our partner. During my marriage, the thought of sharing intimacies with my friends (even with the most selfless intention) seemed like an offense against my husband. So for the most part I suffered in silence, shame and isolation, until the marriage ended. Then everyone asked, “Why didn’t you speak up?”

Now I’m all about speaking up, and I want my friends to do likewise. I want to know what they know. I want them to tell me about anal sex — does it feel good? Should I do it? I want to hear their fantasies and what turns them on, so that I can actually feel closer to them and hold a deeper place for them in my heart and life.

If they are sexually unsatisfied, I want to listen and help them explore the limits within them, with the hope of discovering new bridges to more pleasure. To me, this is no different from a conversation about a skin moisturizer. If one of my girlfriends says, “Hey, I tried this new skin product; it was pretty disappointing,” I want to be able to learn more and help her find a product she likes better.

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Talking sex with my girlfriends is an opportunity to bond and laugh, to see and be seen in a deeply personal way. When I go to one of my friends and share that I’m having feelings for a man who is unavailable, I desire to create a safe place for both of us to connect so that I might work through what I’m experiencing. And if a friend is having a problem with her spouse, or feels that her sex life is wanting, I want to be a safe haven for her to be heard and seen.

This is not a space for judgment, condemnation or shame, only for love between women that might birth answers toward greater freedom. Sharing openly with friends about sex helps me better understand myself and to fine-tune my own desires. My wish is for all women to be so blessed — to have friends with whom they can discuss who they are at their core, and with whom their sexuality can be revealed and empowered.

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