When we talk about sex, we speak to many different people. But also often discuss sex without lovers, our family, or our friends. The person we talk to the most about sex is ourselves. We question, doubt, wonder, fantasize and theorize. Sex is something most everybody thinks about - but much of that dialog remains internal. This week's Sex Stories We Love features stories about how we think - and talk - about sex, both with ourselves, and with others.

Coming Out to Yourself

Coming to understand one’s own sexuality can be a process. A good process ... a trying process ... a frightening process. Unless you’re completely and entirely sure you are a societally-approved heterosexual person, the thinking that fills your head with wonder, doubt, fantasy, dread, excitement, and so much more can be overpowering at times. While this situation is not unique to bisexual folks, this internal conversation on one person's bisexuality from Pride is a fantastic example of the type of questions we ask ourselves (and the lies that can follow). This writer's attempt to sort out the myriad of emotions and the follow-up responses that followed her admitting her bisexuality are also entirely spot on. This post could be very inspiring for anyone going through this difficult time.

The Bell Curve of Sex

The idea behind what constitutes sex is a long-running and, often times, very contentious debate. Years ago, this question would have been greeted with a quizzical look because sex was obviously just penis-in-vagina. Of course, we know better than this now that people of many different identities are hooking up for both casual and long-term sexual relationships. So, trying to figure out how to define sex becomes a little more challenging. In a recent survey asking what acts college students believe are sex, fun that isn’t just defined as penis in vagina or kissing - pretty much everything else that falls in between - is still up for debate. They were also asked whether having an orgasm contributes to which activities they define as "sex." I can truly say I am shocked at the differences listed there!

Sex Ed at Home

Maybe those college kids needed better sex ed at home! Or, maybe they rebelled against it. Anyone with kids will completely relate to the issues Dr. Trina Read encounters while trying to provide her sons with great, positive sex education at home. Some kids might be completely keen, while others would rather talk about anything else. It is pretty damn hard to pass on useful knowledge when you’re talking to a stubborn little wall. Some kids want to learn, some don’t. Some will do better with their parents, some will do better learning at school. The best parents can do is to keep working at providing, as Trina notes, teachable moments around sex, and hoping beyond hope that their kids take some of it in. We do have to remember that kids are individuals, just like adults.

Safe Rides

I absolutely love the analogy drawn by the awesome Molly Moore in her post about condoms. I completely agree that condoms are the seat belts of sex. Upon reaching the end of her reminiscences of condoms, I am drawn to the comparison: “...you really need to use them to keep you safe while you enjoy the ride.”

What really hits home here is the utility of both condoms and seat belts. When seat belts were legislated, many were in an uproar, vowing to never use them. Now, they are pretty much commonplace. When condoms were first promoted as a safer sex method, this was followed by another bout of uproar. And now, well, I won’t say condoms are commonplace, but they are certainly much more accepted, and are used without much fuss or bother. Really, in the times since condom advocacy became strong, an entirely new generation has grown up embracing the idea that many of their sexual experiences will involve a condom.

Missed Opportunities in Consent

So, James Deen attended the AVN Expo and Awards and the XBiz Awards. He even picked up a couple of trophies at the AVN show - what the mainstream media dubs “Porn Oscars.” Deen has kept a low profile since last fall when numerous sexual abuse allegations were levied against him.

Was a public appearance at these major industry events the right thing to do? It didn’t help matters that AVN weekend was also supposed to include a panel discussion on consent that was cancelled at the last minute. There was no official statement linking the two, but Deen’s attendance and the shuttering of the panel both open and close different doors. The open door is a justifiable accusation of failing to create a safe space for those who have been victimized - by Deen or anyone else. The closed door is the potentially newfound difficulty the industry may have to truly jump start conversations around consent and best porn industry practices surrounding consent that could have launched with the panel and led to positive change.

Easy Talk on Fisting

I never thought I'd read such a straightforward and normalized account of fisting. In current sex literature, experiences are either highly praised or deeply loathed. Sure, we’re praising things to promote positivity, but sometimes it is a bit much. Here, we have an honest and straightforward account of trying a new type of sex that could be more readily summed up with a shrug of the shoulders and not an “earth-shattering, mind-blowing OMG this is amazing!” recollection. Fisting is a type of sex that still lies on the edge of taboo, a type of hard play that scares many. The writer of this piece, Zoë Ligon, tried fisting. It didn’t do much for her, and she moved on. She notes the good parts of the experience and the not-so-good parts. Curiously, her account reads more like a sex toy review than a sex act review! This more casual, introspective approach to sex discussion made the topic more accessible, and is sorely lacking in many other articles on this topic.