The old adage that those who talk a lot about sex aren’t doing it very much just isn’t the case, or so it seems. At a recent gathering of sex therapists, sex educators, sex workers and others, it was evident that talking more about sex increases the likelihood that there will be more (and better) sexual activity in the future. The participants who attended this fun, fascinating and informative SAR (Sexual Attitude Restructuring/Reaffirmation) in Berlin, Germany watched videos, listened to experts, attended a museum of erotic artifacts and experienced the thrill of a BDSM demonstration. We gathered in small groups during lunch breaks to discuss our emotional responses to the media content, the presentations and demonstrations, as well as the beautiful objects on display at the museum. We took the opportunity to talk about our personal and professional lives as pro-sex advocates and to learn from each other, too. Attendees came from all over the globe to create a safe and welcoming environment where the topic of sex is as common and comfortable as the furniture in the room or the food on the table, which were both tasteful and tasty. That is how the SAR works. The exotic venue adds to the experience, exposure to other cultures gives us a worldwide view and visiting sights of interest, both sexual and historical make the trip exciting and enlightening. Despite the differences in language, culture and currency, we learned as much about ourselves as we did about each other.
Sex is universal. It is a language we all speak with or without words. The words just make it clear regarding how we feel about it. Assuming that we just instinctively know how people think and feel about sex without actually talking about it is a common mistake. True, non-verbal cues may say a lot, but not everything. When we put our reactions and responses into words (in this case with the help of translation from Russian, Chinese, Slovak and German) there is much less chance of misunderstanding. This logically carries over to our interpersonal relationships. Talking about sex, like other topics of discussion, improves with frequency. Talking about sex more and more also increases our knowledge and comfort levels. Not everyone has the benefit of working in a sex-related profession, of course. Having the training and experience that sex-related work offers definitely gives some of us in attendance an advantage but the SAR is not restricted to professionals; individuals and couples who want to expand their sexual awareness are welcome and are encouraged to attend. Over the years, those who have joined the more seasoned sex work-related attendees shared their personal experiences and were all 100% satisfied. The responses are awesome! One in particular at this spring’s Berlin SAR had ‘the most amazing time of my life’ and felt that ‘all my expectations were surpassed.’ However, this is not an ad campaign. I have always had a positive experience when attending a gathering of colleagues and other sex experts, but the freedom of expression when talking about sex in a casual manner,
without the social boundaries we usually see in the media and elsewhere is truly uplifting. As a sex therapist in private practice for many years, I am always refreshed and rejuvenated when I return from one of these functions. It never gets to be tiresome or repetitive. It’s always a joy for me.
So, yes, although I talk about sex every day, I read about sex just about every day, I think about sex as it relates to my work (and for fun, too) and when I get a chance to travel around the world and visit places I have always wanted to see, I do it for the joy and for the reaffirmation that I am in a great place right here at home. In my office I listen to my clients talk about sex, at my computer I read about sex, when I meet for clinical seminars we discuss sex, and when I go on a trip to some fun, exciting location thousands of miles from home…I am listening, reading and talking about sex. I am working toward the future where talking about sex is as natural as packing a bag and getting on a flight to an exciting destination… because, in reality, that’s what it is.