Asking for help can be a really hard thing sometimes. Especially when it involves, ummm, hard things. Something we clearly lack in our current sex culture is casual sexual conversation - and that could truly help people with questions and fears. Let’s make the new year about asking for sex help when we need it. Here are a few stories from the past week that follow this theme and provide food for thought.

Seek Out the Best From Sex Educators

Holiday seasons can be extremely challenging for our sex lives. It doesn’t matter what holiday you celebrate, at whatever time of year, whenever there is an expectation of gatherings, family, and general joy, there can also be travel, hectic feelings and stress. It is easy to forgo sex to just catch up on rest, sleep, and not having to be “on.” For many people, just crawling into bed after a long day of being around people is satisfaction enough. However, if you do want to pursue some sexytime amidst the chaos of holiday celebrations, check out these three Ps of great sex advice. This article is a good example of how the internet can be a great place to ask for sex help. There are many awesome sex educators and writers sharing tips like this online. Be a careful reader, but there’s lots to learn out there.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Here’s another great piece of advice that might help avoid some relationship issues: sex shouldn’t be treated like a special occasion gift. We’ve all seen movies or television shows where one character surprises the other dressed up in new lingerie or not dressed at all, with the implication that sex will be a present to celebrate something special. This certainly seems like a nice idea. Unfortunately, Dr. Nikki Goldstein suggests, this could backfire. Sex could be seen as an obligation or something that happens only on these special occasions, like holidays. Instead, Goldstein argues, we should think of sex as a regular, every day thing to be had throughout the year, not just on special occasions. Or, I’ll suggest, a combination of the two. Enjoy sex as much as you like whenever it works for you AND get fancy sometimes. I think I’m onto something here.

Siri-ously, Not Much Assistance

I mentioned using the internet to seek out sex advice and information. Yes, the internet can be a fantastic playground of great advice and up-to-date research. However, I did advise careful reading. Now I’m going suggest you also be a careful listener as well. Because if you ask Siri or Google Assistant a question about sex, you may not get the best answer. These digital assistants can be great for finding restaurants or even sex shops in your area. Yet, as this study shows, they aren’t really set up to provide worthwhile answers about sex-related questions. Particularly Siri, which is programmed along Apple’s “values.” So, really, I’m glad you asked someone, even a little box, but doing your own research or heading over to that sex shop Siri recommends is a better idea.

A Friend in Need Is a Friend in (Dirty) Deeds

Arguably, some of the best sources of sex information are probably the people you talk to the most: your friends. Now, it would be wrong not to say that, depending on who your friends are, they might also be some of the worst sources of sex information. Let’s focus on friends who can really help when asked. This is a great story from Vice of one friend helping the other reach orgasm for the first time in her life. No, not like that. By talking about issues, concerns, feelings, and, of course, erotic sensation. They visit sex shops, consider vibrator options, and have check-ins. Most important of all, they establish a comfort and support network, and, over many days of attempts, followed by conversation, an orgasm happens. Then they continue to talk. It can be quite daunting to ask for help of an intimate nature from a friend, but as they say “What are friends for?”

Questioning Doctor's Advice

Another great place to ask for sexual help is in your doctor’s office. Your physician and the nurses who work alongside can be amazing aids in helping you through sexual difficulties and when you have questions. (Yes, there is another big caveat here that some doctors are very difficult in this respect as well). Doctors can even provide some surprising suggestions when you have health-related sexual concerns. Like, I’ve had my bipolar diagnosis for 15 years and not one doctor has told me to go out and have as much sex as possible to help with bipolar disorder. This makes perfect sense, considering the patient in question is dealing with the depression end of the spectrum, and there have been other studies that show sex can help with depressions. On the other hand, sex, or excess amounts of it, can definitely be a concern of problematic activity for those in a hypomanic state. So, if you do seek advice from a doctor, ask lots of questions and do some research yourself to get the full picture.

Don't Ask, Yell

Finally, here are some sexual instances where you have to ask for a doctor’s help. Play safe and be careful folks!