To share notes: I remember discussing the vulvar anatomy with my best friend for the first time. I had discovered the clitoris with the aid of my first bullet vibrator, while she was more experienced in partnered sex. I told her that I had orgasmed from simply stimulating the clit. She seemed skeptical and asked me to describe my experience of an orgasm. We turned to the internet and read up about clitoral stimulation. "That explains why I can orgasm easily in one particular position," she shared, thinking out loud.
Talking about sex with friends helps us think about it in ways that we may not have in the past, given the limitations of our experience.
To dispel shame: My friends and I have discussed STDs, unplanned pregnancies, our individual sexual prowesses, preferences, and more! Why, you may ask? Because sometimes when you're getting tested, you're scared and nervous because we have little access to credible information about them or their treatment. Because sometimes we cannot discuss the agency we want over our bodies with older members of the family, who have probably not dealt with their own feelings of shame around the issue. Because sometimes we feel safer exploring new techniques and positions when our friends show interest and excitement about it as well! It feels a little less lonely as we all embark on this adventure with excitement and trepidation.
To normalize sex (and not having it): Birds do it. Bees do it. Most of your friends probably do it as well. And the ones that don't do it because of their (a)sexuality, choice of celibacy, issues of fear or shame around the subject, busy schedules - their experiences are just as valid. To be curious about one another's sex lives and experiences is to be curious about one another's health and well-being. Sexual health is health!
To hold space for traumatic experiences: Most of us have experienced some form of sexual harassment or trauma. Many of us have felt isolated in our experience of it from being shamed or blamed for it by someone we trust...probably someone older. But when we find space to discuss it with our friends, we learn that we are not alone or any lesser for what happened to us. We unlearn the shame (well, it's not a linear journey), and embrace our agency in the paths we choose for ourselves as we move on, when we are able to safely share our stories with trusted peers.
To learn of massagers and other aids: I gifted a few of my friends the DTF personal gel and it helped us have a conversation about how harmful flavoured gels can be when engaging in penetrative sex. I have gifted my cousins massagers and this has helped us have open conversations among ourselves about our sex lives and what we'd like - in fact, when I offered to buy a massager, one of my cousins said that she preferred the OG for internal stimulation. We all need spaces to share our desires openly. On the other hand, when I was still undecided about my bisexuality, it helped to talk about ways of having sex that did not involve penetration (which seems to be mainstream media's favourite way of representing sex) and knowing that it's fine to bring massagers into the bedroom or discussing the various positions to scissor in. That sex was not an automatic act performed in the throes of passion, but one that can be discussed and then engaged in.
About the author:
Tejaswi is a media professional and researcher focused on pleasure & joy in areas of public health. Their attention is captured by post-colonial human relationships at a time of the Internet of Things.Tejaswi is autistic and identifies as queer in more ways than one.