The Confusion of Sex


We learn the most about sex from our friends. More specifically, friends who are not our partners. And these conversations can be a little crass and a lot goofy. At the very least, they’re raw, real, and unfiltered. Amidst this, there’s a subtle realization that we should be going directly to the source for this info, our partners, but that’s way too crazy. So, we pick the more seemingly rational choice—our friends—who have nothing to do with our sex life.

Here’s a silly example from the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love:

And where are our friends learning about sex? Mostly from the media of course. Does this make our friends experts on sex? Probably not. Does it make them experts on our partner? Definitely not. But they’re safe. And there’s the rub. It’s easier to forge the tricky maze of sexual choices through back channels and underground conversations than our partners themselves. Real talk is risky and requires a measure of bravery.


What if we started with the simple premise that people vary, that everyone’s needs, preferences, and beliefs are different? If we start with that understanding and we truly care for our partner, then we would want to ask our partners the tough questions; we would want to seek to understand them better.

If we started with the premise that people vary, then effective sex education wouldn’t begin with an anatomy lesson, but rather, a conversation around emotional intelligence. What if we could then be empowered to ditch the hang-ups? What if we could start the conversation with questions, not answers?

Here are five simple questions we’re learning to ask of our partners, to make a part of our relationship vocabulary:


The bottom line is that people vary. Let's be clear about that. Let's start bringing Clarity Together through real talk. Parents, own the conversation with your children. Singles, engage each other with thoughtful questions. Spouses, communicate thoroughly about sex. The confusion of sex will start to lift one real talk at a time.