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Sex Tips for the Rest of Us: Define Your Sexual Terms

Improving sexual communication

By

Updated January 08, 2009

We all rely on communication short cuts at times. We use them to make conversations go faster or smoother or just because it doesn't feel necessary to fill in all the blanks that have been filled in a thousand times before. To an outsider these can sound like bizarre coded conversations, like "I'll meet you at the place, by the thing, later today," or "Remember that thing you did before? Do it again, but harder!"

We also use this kind of vagueness at times when we don't want to have to spell it out, either because we're embarrassed or we feel that spelling it out would be too challenging or argumentative.

The problem with this is that communication short cuts can lead to significant miscommunication. Vagueness, particularly around a topic like sex, can lead directly to confusion. And we have to remember that if we don't clearly ask for what we want, we reduce the chances that we'll ever get it.

This sex tip is one part of a larger project of writing your own sexual story, it's a good first step which involves defining your own sexual terms. It is not meant to produce a final answer on what sex means for you today and in the future. Rather it offers a snapshot of how you're thinking and feeling in a given moment. It's something you can share with a partner, or just keep for yourself.

Take some time over the next week or two to answer some of these questions for yourself. If it's easy to do, you might want to write it down. If not you can just think about the questions and how you would answer them today. These aren't the only questions to ask, they may not even be the best questions for you to ask yourself, but they're a good start.

  • When I say I want to have sex, I mean I want to…(try to list at least three things)
  • Sex for me is…(try to list at least five things)
  • When I think about sex, the first thing I think about is…
  • When I think about sex, the last thing I think about is…
  • Words I am comfortable using about my own body…
  • Words I'm comfortable using about other people's bodies…
  • Words I like others to use about my body…
  • To me great sex is…(try to list at least three things)
  • To me bad sex is…(try to list at least three things)

As always, have fun!

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