The number one mantra when it comes to improving people’s sex lives is a focus on communication. If couples are experiencing difficulties, they should talk about it. Yet, do we apply this to sex in society at large? Sometimes. We need more. This week’s Sex Stories We Love explores many different angles of conversations about sex and communication.

Remembering the 'Self' in 'Selfie'

Now, this weekly series isn’t normally one that delves into celebrity shenanigans and beefs, but an ongoing online battle has prompted some particularly strong response that speaks to a much bigger discussion of women and sex. So, Kim Kardashian posted a nude selfie on Instagram. Nothing new here, you’d think; been there, done that. This is not the first time she’s done this, and, well, nude selfies are fairly common. However, after this particular pic, a number of female celebrities including Chloe Grace Moretz and Bette Midler called out Kardashian for being a poor role model for girls because she uses her body for fame and money. Others, such as Amber Rose and Sharon Osbourne (who posted her own similar nude selfie) expressed support for Kim. And here we thought we were trying to stop the patriarchy from policing women’s bodies might be a uniting ideal! Think what you want about the whole Kardashian clan and what they are in pop culture, but as Kim very rightly notes in a follow-up posted after all of her backlash: it is her body, and she can do with it as she pleases.

Cumfort Level?

This Kardashian selfie scandal may make for impressive tabloid fodder, but it asks a question that is much bigger than a Twitter feud: are we really that comfortable - even the biggest sex geeks among us - talking about sex? This reflection by Peter Banki of the Sydney Festival of Really Good Sex speaks to the unease that many people in the sex community deal with when "the mainstream" catches wind of what's going on. This can be the good and the bad of sex. It is still as hard to find authentic and engaging discussions of pleasure as it is to find constructive, active, and therapeutic conversations about sexual trauma. Of course, nobody wants to talk about a woman who is positively in tune with her body and happy to share it in photos. Where’s that damn time machine we ordered so that we could go back in time to change the negativity that is so intrinsically branded on to sex in our current world???

Men and Sexual Assault

This unease with talking about sex particularly affects marginalized groups who already have significant difficulties being heard and understood. One of these groups is boys and men who have been sexually victimized. It is widely recognized that women are, overwhelmingly, the predominant sufferers of unwanted sexual contact; significant effort needs to be undertaken to stop this madness. However, we’re starting to understand that boys and men have also been suffering - and frequently in silence. Because people don’t want to talk about it. Because people don’t want to acknowledge that this happens to men. And even when it is acknowledged, the conversation is quickly shut down with stigma and stereotypes. This wonderful PSA and campaign could go a long way in breaking down the stigmas and difficulties men and boys face by offering suggestions on what not to say when dealing with sexual trauma.

BDSM Legal Battles Brewing

A troubling legal decision in the United States could bring conversations about BDSM to the forefront in subsequent court cases. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III concluded a case against George Mason University - brought by a student who has been kicked out of the school due to sexual misconduct involving BDSM - by noting that BDSM is not protected under the US Constitution. You’ll note in the article that this, essentially, pushes consensual BDSM back into the dungeon. This decision is going to make people less likely to discuss their BDSM interests and concerns in open environments. It could push emerging sexual interest back, after there had been good progress made, in helping mainstream society understand kinky folks. We’ll have to wait and see if there are any further legal repercussions, but hopefully some sense will prevail when it comes to consensual BDSM.

A Warm and Fuzzy Welcome

Don’t worry, though. It isn’t all doom and gloom when it comes to talking about sex! Some sex-related situations actually promote useful dialogue! Canada has recently opened its doors to a significant number of Syrian refugees who are being welcomed by various communities across the country. Often, when these folks arrive, they are given rooms at hotels until more settled accommodations can be sorted out. Of course, hotels regularly take on events and conventions well in advance. So when a group of refugees were booked into the same hotel as the 5th annual VancouFur event, there was concern that cultural differences could lead to difficulties. This could have been a bit presumptuous; maybe Furries are big in Syria. However, to ensure everyone enjoyed the weekend, the situation was discussed and everybody agreed to ensure everybody felt safe. From all accounts, it was a smashing success, particularly for the kids who have been through a difficult ordeal. What could be a better way to welcome them than friendly folks in amazing and fun costumes! This just goes to show that a subculture that can be sexual does not need to be hidden. Well handled by everyone!

Let's Remember to Laugh

From good feelings about sex and communication, let’s move into some silly. First off, this wonderfully illustrated list of 12 types of sex everyone will have at least once is totally spot on. The likelihood is you’ve probably tried these a) in a new and exciting relationship, b) because your partner suggested it and you were just totally into them so much you had to do it even if you thought better of it, and c) possibly in a state of inebriation. Whatever the situation, other than number 12, it is usually best to chalk these shenanigans up to an “experience.”

Finally, Reddit users were asked to sum up their first sexual experience in GIFs. Take a little time for some good laughs. That, I hope is a great takeaway about sexual communication - let’s always take some time to laugh about sex.