Talking with Friends about Sex

I have a difficult time talking about sex with friends. Amongst my group of friends I am considered a good listener, but I suspect that this is partly due to the fact that I shy away from volunteering information about myself. I typically assume that I will end up talking too much, talk about myself too much or embarrass myself. I’m realising now that I need to be much more open if I want to have truly mutually beneficial friendships.

If talking about myself is hard, talking about sex is a minefield. I avoid the subject because it makes me uncomfortable, and when it does some up, I listen and offer encouragement. I do find myself wanting to share more, particularly when someone says something particularly close minded, but when that feeling passes over me and I’m about to say ‘well actually…’ a little voice pops up saying, ‘shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!” and I obey.

It’s inconceivable for me to announce to any of my friends that I’m bi or that I’m into BDSM, but apart from that I feel uncomfortable with them being aware of what I get up to in the bedroom (or elsewhere). I know a lot of this is based on paranoia. What if I’m looked at as a freak? a deviant? What if i sound like I’m exaggerating or boasting? What if I come across as a prude? I’m afraid I’ll reveal some weakness, some flaw that will make people look at me differently or that I’ll let them down.

The circumstance of the friendship is also a factor. I made a new friend at work and over the months we’ve grown closer. She has told me her relationship issues and she recently started seeing someone new. It was clear to me that on some level, her religious ideals made her feel a bit guilty about having sex or wanting to have sex with someone she isn’t married to. She and the new guy ended up sleeping together and she gave me all the details. I pointed out to her that it seemed to me that she wasn’t actually interested in a relationship with this guy, but just wanted him physically. I couldn’t bring myself to recount any of my experiences to back up my point to her. My mind frequently reminds me that I know her through work and I’m not about to run the risk of someone carrying my business around in a professional setting. On some basic level I even think we should not even be having these kinds of conversations. Even when the risks are low, I clam up.

I’m trying to be more open in general so people can see me as a full person, not just the polished and approved parts of me. I’m not sure how far that extends to sex talk at the moment. My default setting is distrust and i accept I’ve got a lot of work to do to change that.

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