I live and practice in the Midwest, where open discussion about sex is just not part of the culture. Even among close-knit groups of girlfriends, it’s a rare discussion, at least past a certain age. I’m trying to remember when I stopped talking about sex openly with my friends…
I remember it was a subject of great interest and fascination when I was very young. Whispers, conjectures, a lot of misinformation and tall tales. By high school, we knew more, the better informed among us bringing along the uninformed. In college, we received a great deal more detail as data from actual, rather than fictional, experimentation became more commonplace.
I suppose it is marriage that closes our mouths. We may have been willing to share exploits or guess at sex before we chose our mates, but once we do, the walls of privacy go up, and silence rules our sexual lives.
And that’s okay, so long as we have opportunities to continue to learn and explore, and provided we have some source of information and aid when things aren’t working. Because, let’s face it, we aren’t trained in sexual techniques. There is no sexual master class. No black belt to earn. And sex isn’t always smooth sailing. Our anatomy isn’t flawless or consistent in its function. We need information as we grow and change sexually, and most particularly when we enter the menopause.
In some cultures discussion about sexual technique among same-sex family members and social sets is nearly endless. But in our Puritan-influenced culture, silence is golden. So what are we to do? It isn’t likely that we’ll change a whole culture any time soon.
As we see in places like EmpowHer and MiddlesexMD, online, we have a real opportunity. Here, we can talk to and learn from each other without sacrificing the privacy and propriety we hold dear. While all online resources aren’t the same, there are places where we can share reliable, well-researched information that will help us understand and share not just matters of sexual health, but of sexual technique, too.
But while we can gather good information, we need you, and women like you, in the conversation, too—so we know we’re answering the right questions. What has changed for you with menopause? What questions do you have? What has worked for you? What have you learned from others? What experiences are daunting? What insights can you share? Let’s stop shying away from this topic so we can learn from—and encourage—each other.