Why Do Women and Men Talk About Sex So Differently? Let’s Explore
Why Do Women and Men Talk About Sex So Differently? Let’s Explore
Why do women share so much about their sex lives with friends?
The notion that women are always opening up to their friends about sex is a persistent one in culture. It’s discussed on podcasts and internet forums — and has even fueled the premise for iconic TV shows like Sex and the City.
Even though women are sometimes considered more prudish or chaste than men, it’s no secret that, when it comes to talking about sex, women tend to feel more comfortable sharing with their friends than men do.
That is to say, the way they talk about sex is also much different than the few details men tend to share about their intimate lives among friends when they engage in so-called “locker room talk.”
In order to better understand the ways women talk about sex and how it differs from how guys do, AskMen spoke to a mix of women and, including a professional relationship expert. Here’s what they had to say:
Why Do Women Talk About Sex?
For starters, women talk about sex with each other because sex can be a meaningful and emotional experience, whether you had a good time or not. If it’s something you’re still thinking about the next day, and the day after that, there’s a good chance you’ll want to talk to someone about it.
But because of the differences between typical male and female friendships, women are often more comfortable exploring in detail both the sexual and emotional aspects of a hookup — while guys may prefer to put on a posture of bravado with their buds.
Alternately, if the experience didn’t go super well, they may be less willing to talk about sex with their buddies — but this is really where sex talk between women shines.
Meghan Rydzewski, MFT, says having a group of women to consult with can help make an awkward sexual encounter feel more normal.
“It can be beneficial for individuals by providing validation regarding your own sexual experience and feeling more confident,” she says.
Had sex with a guy with a rare kink? Time to schedule a meetup with the girls. Need to know if it’s weird if a guy won’t have sex with you if he doesn’t shower right beforehand? Another one for the girls to solve.
Women talk about sex because they want to know if their intimate experiences are in line with what their peers are experiencing. (And because it’s a fun topic to talk about with friends in a non-judgmental, supportive context.)
“My group of friends has covered it all,” says Jada, 27. “We talk about penis size, but not the way men probably think we do. It’s more about how big is too big, or even positions that make smaller guys feel bigger inside you.”
“Having sex for the first time with someone you really like is probably my favorite to talk about with friends,” says Bri, 26. “At that point, we’re all invested and want to hear it was amazing — and to help troubleshoot if not.”
Comparing How Men and Women Talk About Sex
In a prior version of this article written by Vanessa Burton, she juxtaposed the two modes like this:
Roger: Man, I finally slept with Lisa last night — it was great.
David: Nice, dude! Did she swallow?
Roger: Come on, man, what do you think? First I railed her, and then she gave me head. She was wild — I felt like I could do anything and she didn’t mind.
David: Damn, when you’re done with her, can I have a shot? Just kidding, bud. Hey, you down to watch the game later?
Lisa: Joanne, you’ll never believe what Roger and I did last night. We went to a hotel and made passionate, erotic love. Oh my goodness, first he kissed me so soft and deep, like he’d been dying to kiss me for ages. When he slowly unbuttoned my blouse and licked on my nipples gently, I thought I was going to have an orgasm right then and there.
Joanne: Oh my God, you’re so lucky. How long did the foreplay last?
Lisa: It felt like hours. He really took the time to appreciate my body. He was licking and biting me everywhere. After we had intense sex, I decided to let him lay back and relax and I went down on him. And I was so in the heat of the moment that I swallowed it all even though I never do that.
Joanne: You didn’t!
Lisa: I sure did, and it actually tasted kind of nice. I can still feel him all over me.
Joanne: OK, we have to meet for coffee, I want all the details.
This is a bit of a cliché, but it explores the way a conversation about the same situation — one both parties were present for and both enjoyed a lot — can go in different ways depending on the gender of the participants.
In Roger’s version, it’s a tale of the sex as conquest — he brags about his achievement, using euphemisms and slang terms, while his friend asks for details and then expresses a little jealousy in a teasing way. Then, to paper over any awkwardness of the conversation becoming too emotionally intimate, the friend changes the subject.
In Lisa’s version, she explores the events in much more detail, sharing how she felt physically and emotionally, and her friend encourages her by asking for more info and by showing that she’s open to hearing even more.
How Talking About Sex Helps With Problem-Solving
Of course, these two approaches don’t break down 100% along gender lines. There are men who feel comfortable sharing intimate accounts of their sex lives, and women who clam up or misrepresent their experiences.
But these two modes are stereotypical for a reason — they’re quite common to encounter in real-world discussions.
Now, if it was just a question of different styles of conversation, it wouldn’t be an issue. But the truth is that talking to your friends about your sex life in an open and honest way can have serious benefits for all parties involved — and avoiding doing so can have the opposite effect.
For instance, men may not feel comfortable talking to friends about a sudden dip in their sex drive or performance issues, and that can feel seriously isolating, and sometimes compound the problem.
But plenty of women have found the power of problem-solving through talking about sex issues with friends. Rydzewski says these types of conversations with friends can benefit relationships and may lead to tips or advice that women wouldn’t have heard otherwise.
Unlike reading something off the internet and trying to apply it to your sex life, getting advice from a friend means you can have a back-and-forth on what to do and follow up on any progress. It can be sort of like a diet version of sex therapy — though if the issues you’re running into are entrenched enough it may be worth seeing an actual sex therapist with your partner.
“I probably would’ve never tried anal again if it weren’t for my friends,” says Kai, 29. “I went in totally unprepared the first time, had the wrong kind of lube and didn’t ease into it at all.”
“In college, I dated this guy who had trouble staying hard during sex,” says Claire, 23. “I felt like it was my fault for a while or that maybe he wasn’t that into me. When I finally talked to my friends about it, one of them said she had a similar experience and recommended a vibrating cock ring, which worked wonders.”
What Men Can Learn From “Girl Talk”
Feeling comfortable enough to talk honestly and openly with your friends about sex is a process.
Plenty of men don’t feel the need to share intimate details of their sex lives with their buddies, and that’s perfectly OK. But if you do have meaningful friendships where you feel safe to open up and discuss what’s going on in your sex life, Rydzewski says there’s one key takeaway men can learn from the way women talk about sex.
“I believe that men could learn to discuss sex with friends with a purpose in mind instead of just bragging or explaining it without a purpose,” she says. “Having a purpose of gaining insight or advice is helpful to them as well as the overall relationship, which should be the goal.”
If you’re willing to open up and listen, there’s so much you can learn from friends about their experiences that can help yours.
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