I consider myself very lucky. At the other end of a phone line, whenever I want or need, is my Grandmother; all 95 years and counting of her. Full of spunk and sass, she’s the type that will help wheel people 20 years younger than her down to the dinner hall of their home and, if the need arises, she’ll have also shucked the corn they have for dinner. We chat weekly about all kinds of things - my family, her town, her elder’s view on world events, and much more.
But we do not talk about sex.
That’s not entirely true. I remember a very brief mention of sex after I had a vasectomy. She made a quip about hoping everything still functions. That was it. Because, despite the many changes in the world in her time, sex was and forever will be a hush-hush subject for her. I’ve no doubt she’d have some good stories to tell, but at the same time, I am sure that we’ve got better ones. Those changes? Those changes have let us all have better sex than our grandparents.
So, what has changed, beside our better openness to actually mention the word sex? Is the world that different? Oh Nellie (a fave saying of my grandmother’s), it sure is! If I try to compare what my grandmother came of age with and what my kids are going to know, it makes me feel pretty sorry for older generations. Here are four reasons why we all have better sex than our grandparents.
We Talk About Sex
The basic starting point is that we talk about sex. We talk about sex more on a Facebook thread of a Buzzfeed quiz than my grandmother would have for years at a time. Part of the reason we can do that is because sex was introduced to us through formal and informal sex education. Sure, the formal sex ed most of us received was lacking, but at least there were usually diagrams and labels and names of sex organs. It was a starting point. I am sure that my grandmother and her friends had chats full of giggles at recess. We are now, finally, starting to let kids talk more openly about sex. That is leading to more public conversations.
Now we have people - all sorts of people - who are fantastic sex educators. People who write sex review blogs, people who lead workshops, and people who are activists who are ready to call out those who attempt to keep sex a quiet topic. Our grandparents didn’t have these opportunities because there was no space for it in their society. Slowly, we’re ensuring there is space through greater and better education.
Most of us have moved to a point where we need to talk about sex. We're no longer content with romance novels, innuendos in media, and veiled references. We're no longer content with letting the great pleasure potential of sex slip through our fingers because it isn't on our lips. Fortunately, we have technology to really express these feelings. Also, while slow and not always accurate, the media is also starting to embrace the conversation about sex. We'll work on making it better as we go.
We Have Better Technology
Technology drives so much of our lives. How could it not also be improving our sex lives? Not only do we have online sex education, we also have app-enabled sex toys and teledildonics, and even internet pornography and virtual reality porn experiences that we can tap into and enjoy. In other words, our sexual selves and sexualities are something we can explore in a number of unique and enlightening ways. I'm not sure our grandparents had any such opportunities beyond a few dirty magazines and their own imaginations.
We Have Porn
Another reason, albeit controversial, that we are enjoying better sex than our grandparents is porn. Hey, we all know porn hasn’t and isn’t always a good thing and most of it should not be used as any kind of instructive sex material.
However, porn has opened many people up to the many varying options and potentials of their sex and sexuality. Being able to watch other people enjoy positions, oral sex, and BDSM is more commonplace. We can access this resource at almost any time. Back in the day, if someone wanted to watch other people fuck, they had to pay a pretty penny and likely visit some less-than-reputable vendors to attain reels of stag films. Our porn industry is not perfect, but it is definitely moving toward better ethics that past performers experienced. It's also portraying more kinds of sex between more and different kinds of people.
We Have Easy to Access to Sex Toys
On the same "at your fingertips" theme as porn is our easy access to the wonderful world of sex toys. Pleasure products have taken off in the past few decades with products that are better, sexier and more technologically advanced than ever. They are also becoming more prevalent and more accepted as great additions to our bedrooms. Stigma about using a toy to get off is dropping.
In past years, devices such as vibrators were scarce, and more famously used as tools to treat hysteria in women - not as a casual orgasm accouterments. Sure, dildos of various sorts have been around for centuries, but they definitely weren't the body-safe, anatomy-optimized beauties that we have today. Women, in particular, now have greater control and access to their bodies and pleasure than they ever had in the past.
So, how have all these advances happened? Why are we in such a better spot? The answer is twofold: one reason practical, the other psychological.
There really is so much to reflect on when it comes to all of the sexual advantages we have that our grandparents were never afforded. I can only imagine the shenanigan my own dear Grandmother would have gotten up to doing. Here's a happy thought, though: those grandparents around now who are interested in sex have all of this - sex toys, porn, technology, and education - available to them to enjoy as well!