Why Is It So Difficult to Talk About Sex?

Myths, taboos, and other erroneous beliefs make it difficult to talk about sex. However, communication is crucial and you shouldn't overlook it. 
Why Is It So Difficult to Talk About Sex?
Isbelia Esther Farías López

Written and verified by the philosopher Isbelia Esther Farías López.

Last update: 29 June, 2023

It’s difficult to talk about sex even though it’s pretty much everywhere these days. Many people avoid such conversations, either because they’re embarrassed or find it confusing.

In addition, some of us can neither describe what sexuality is nor the differences between “sex” and “gender.” These, and many other doubts, continue to linger despite the fact that it’s now relatively easy to find information on any subject.

Why is it so difficult to talk about sex?

Sex is a difficult topic from any side you approach it. In fact, there are parents who still don’t explain the subject to their children until the little ones ask. Nevertheless, we now know how important it is for parents to talk about these issues with their children. It must be a part of their education.

Similarly, some couples can’t talk about their sex life and it complicates relationships. Mainly because it makes it more difficult to identify our significant other’s sexual tastes and preferences. As you can imagine, there’ll always be doubts, confusion, and little understanding of the other as long as people refuse to address this topic.

Two people seated on a bed.
Sex has been taboo for a while in some cultures and makes it harder for couples to talk about it freely.

Check this out: Sexuality in Old Age – What Happens?

Sex and sexuality

You may not be aware of it but talking about sex isn’t the same as talking about sexuality, as these are different concepts. Thus, confusion will continue to reign as long as the subject remains taboo. In any case, unresolved doubts keep us from knowing more about ourselves. They seldom help us defining our personality.

Some institutions have already explained that the term sexuality implies “a set of anatomical, psychological and affective conditions that characterize each sex.” In other words, it’s a rather broad concept that encompasses the concept of sex itself.

For this reason, alluding to the subject of sexuality implies considering social and cultural aspects, as well as any other conditioning factors in the life of a person. No doubt this topic must be part of our daily life in order to clear any doubts.

It’s necessary to promote the reflection on sexuality and demolish all myths about sex. It’ll put an end to any kind of thinking that, instead of enlightening, promotes guilt and fear.

How to talk about sex?

We already mentioned that talking about sex isn’t the same as talking about sexuality and that the latter is broader. However, the possibility of talking about sex lies within sexuality. Thus, one can express intimacy and pleasure through certain beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, fantasies, norms, and values, among others.

By sex, we refer to the physiological and anatomical characteristics that differentiate males and females. It doesn’t necessarily align with a person’s sexual preference though. For these reasons, it’s a relevant topic in the family nucleus, institutions, and, above all, in a committed relationship.

Two people talking.
In order to talk about sex, we must bring down the taboos around this subject. Not only within a relationship but in the family nucleus and even at school.

Guidelines for talking about sex

  • Assume it’s an important topic that’s part of every human being
  • Recognize its importance as it’s illogical to pretend otherwise; sex is part of life
  • Address the subject and ignore the cultural taboos on the subject; having clear and truthful information is what’s truly important
  • Get to know your partner and discuss your tastes and inclinations; talking about sex as a couple will strengthen your intimacy
  • Don’t be ashamed; whether you want to recognize it or not, sexuality is a dimension of life, and it’s appropriate to address these issues

Debunking myths about sex

Finally, people must try to leave aside any feeling of shame when talking about sex, and this begins at home. It’s time to bring down all taboos, myths, and false beliefs and approach the subject as objectively as possible in order to be well educated about sex.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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    Molina Garuz, M. C. (2020). Cómo hablar de sexo con nuestros hijos. Asociación The Conversation España.
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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.