Sometimes we just need to look at some hard truths when it comes to sex. It certainly isn’t all doom and gloom out there, but if we all look at these situations with a compassionate eye, we can all grow as sexual beings. This week's Sex Stories We Love will look at some of the top sex stories that popped up in the news this week, what we can learn from them, and what they say about our evolving sexual culture.

Stop Stealthing

This is completely baffling. We’ve seen all kinds of sex and relationship buzzwords come along and usually they just sound silly and, ultimately, fade away. Yet, when it comes to “stealthing” - a shocking trend that is on the rise - I hope we all keep this word in mind or possibly attribute a stronger word to the act - like rape. You see, “stealthing” is when a guy manages to sneak a condom off on the sly, sometime during sex. And it doesn’t seem to be a pleasure-seeking tactic. There are online forums that focus on the power and rights that men have to have sex this way. No, no they don’t. Nobody has a right to subject another to a sexual act without explicit consent.

Different Matters at Hand

Have I gotten too cynical when it comes to sex studies about masturbation? I do think they provide important glimpses into different parts of society, our personalities, and our sex lives. Yet the universality of self love seems to, inevitably, cloud most research. In this recent study, there are some important differentiation made about when people masturbate, such as during happy and satisfied or during unsatisfied and unhappy times. Based on these studies and others I’ve read, I’d like to hear more from people who do not masturbate at all. Whether due to happiness or sadness. Whether satisfied or not. Because we know that a majority of people are taking care of their own business. How about those who do not?

Considering Compatibility

One instance in which people will assume an increase in masturbation is when frequency of interest in sex does not align in a relationship. Maybe one partner wants it a lot while another doesn’t want sex at all. Maybe it is two times a week rather than four. It really isn’t easy to assure sexual compatibility over the length of a relationship. Navigating our individual sexual needs is hard enough sometimes - making those needs align with somebody else’s can be crushing. The key is to explore sexual compatibility together, which doesn’t mean having sex. It means communicating, discussing, discovering and growing. This could involve counseling and it could involve scheduling sex. And, well, it might also involve accepting that you aren’t sexually compatible and moving forward from there. While this may not be something we want to think about, it is a thing to be considered.

Acknowledging Guilt

At the core of many of our sexual issues is the guilt that has been attached to sex through the course of human history. Some cultures were and are sexually open and liberal while others maintained strict ideals around sexual conduct, often with a distinct religious influence. There is not one, single cause of sexual guilt. It is impossible to blame it on one influence. However, as our sexual world opens up and we learn more and accept more, a sense of sexual guilt can overcome and paralyze people. It would be unfair to not acknowledge that women have been particularly affected. This is something for all of us involved in sexual education and writing to remember that while some things are getting rosy in our sex lives, for some folks it is still a struggle.

Not a Shillelagh

We really have to marvel at the ease and affordability of sex toys nowadays. It's one of the ways our sexual culture has progressed. Yes, there is still stigma that has the be fought around understanding the need and pleasure these lovely devices bring. And the differing levels of quality make some sex products better, healthier, and often more expensive (and, therefore, more attainable for some). However, there aren’t likely go to be many stories of shooting elephants, sending ivory from Ireland to China, and custom box making associated with our next bed-side friend. In light of this, the extravagance surrounding this Irish sex toy from the Victorian era is outstanding and I hope it does find a place in a museum. I also hope nobody considers making ivory dildos anymore because if anybody is ever going to auction off your sex toy, let’s hope if because you had spectacular times with it!

The Parent Trap

Finally, it’s true - parenting can really mess with your sex life. Because nobody is all hot to trot when they step on a piece of Lego while trying to sneak in a quickie.