13 March 2013

Heathivate: The discussion about sex. Awkward.

I'm not one to talk about sex. I watch scenes on TV and films and I read about it, but it's not something that I comfortable talking about. I had to talk about sex on radio once and I came out of that interview feeling tense and ill-prepared. I don't write about it much, though I am sure I could if I put my mind to it. I have written about it specifically here and here, if you are interested. Oh the other day, I saw Pacific Magazines googled 'Carly Findlay Sex' twice and reached my blog. Slow news day? Sensationalist voyeurs.

There's something about sex and disability/chronic illness/visible difference. That it's assumed people with disabilities are not sexual beings. That we have never had sex, that we don't want sex, that no one would find us sexually attractive. There is the deeply personal question that strangers feel comfortable enough to ask: "can/how do you have sex?". There's also the idea that we may only want to or be destined to have sex with other disabled people. Maybe that's why I avoid the topic. Because none of those things apply to me, and I don't think they apply to the disabled people I know.

I don't talk about sex with my female friends like they do on Girls (how good is that show by the way?! I'm late to the Girls party, and finally watched the whole first season on the weekend. I love it - especially how open the characters are about sex. And I love the music. And Lena Dunham is so talented. I digress.). When it comes up in conversation, I tend not to look at the person I am talking to, and then hope the topic changes. The last person I properly discussed sex with was the last person I had sex with. And that discussion wasn't verbal, it was through text, so I didn't have to awkwardly avoid eye contact. And I have certainly not discussed sex with my Mum. Unless you count that awkward conversation back in 2003 when I have her a receipt with a petrol voucher on it and she read the receipt, noticing I had bought condoms. And that's been the extent of our discussions about sex.

So when sex therapist Doctor Gabrielle Morrissey spoke for a lengthy period at about the benefits of sex for our health, it was certainly an interesting experience. Ordinarily I would have quietly taken it all in, but my Mum was at the table with me. And I tweeted my way through the weird situation. Others did too - like Jessica Gottlieb.

Doctor Gabrielle certainly reinforced that a healthy, fulfilled sex life applies to everyone in the room. And when she asked us to write down our sexual fantasy on a piece of paper and put it in a box, I left that one right alone (though if I had to answer it, it'd probably be just to have sex regularly). Only, out of the corner of my eye, I caught my Mum participating in the activity.

I can't even.

Anyway, I popped out to the loo to avoid five minutes of going redder than usual. And then I tweeted a little, had a little fun. Doctor Gabrielle talked about red lingerie being the type that men most want a woman to wear. So I figure it's probably ok for me to go naked. Right?


She spoke at length about sex toys, and cleverly linked this into blogging.

And finally, the topic that I most related to: touch.

Recently I spoke about touch and skin hunger on ABC Radio National's Life Matters. I also wrote about skin hunger a few times. It's definitely something that I'd like to discuss more with Doctor Gabrielle Morrissey.

While awkward, the session was enjoyable. Doctor Gabrielle had the audience laughing, which is probably the next enjoyable activity after sex.


This is my second Healthivate post, more to come. View my first one here.

How do you feel discussing sex? Is it something you're comfortable with?


  1. You know, it's so funny! I was writing an article about this topic. (Well, not exactly SOLELY this topic, but it came up) A lot of the issues you bring up here I've experienced. ("Right down to the dreaded 'Can you have sex?' question. Oy.)

    It's a great post, one I definitely can relate to I'm glad you put it on the table, so to speak.

    1. Hey Katie! Isn't it such an up,front question!?
      Thanks for your comment

  2. I am very happy to talk about sex, esp after a few sherbies.
    cilla xx

  3. How could you tell who exactly Googled that phrase? I get told who's site is linking to mine and what phrases people are using that get them to my blog (and there are some highly amusing ones, although my friend Nicole made a lot of blog entries about bizarre search phrases).

    I once had a friend with EB and asked her what any companion (as she was looking for a partner at the time) could do (meaning, without harming her). I meant in terms of touching and cuddling and general physical affection, but she got offended because it seems she assumed I was talking about sex. The friendship didn't last long after that.


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