Can I Talk About My Sex Life Without Making My Partner Uncomfortable?

Katherine Speller

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Because humans are social, communicative critters, it makes sense that we want to share parts of our lives (including the intimate ones) with people we care about. As we grow into a more sex positive, accepting and generally less prudish culture, too, it’s a lot harder for the old reliable “don’t kiss and tell” rules to define how we talk about our sex lives in the year of our lord 2020.

But, of course, with the nuance and power allowing us the chance to be more open comes great responsibility. As one poster in Reddit’s famed /Am I The Asshole? (AITA) experienced when he found that his wife’s sisters, friends and even her mom knew intimate details about their sex life (and made that knowledge known in uncomfortable ways), it can feel deeply strange — and even like a bit of a betrayal — when your partner shares an intimate part of your life with others.

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“In general, there has been a lot of innuendo directed at me over the years by both her sisters, friends, and even on occasion her mother! A lot of it seemed strange when it was said but did not come across as innuendo at that time, but now I realize now were having a laugh at inside jokes they were making based on comments my wife has made to them over the years (since we started dating) about my size and our sex life,” the poster wrote. “In the past I always assumed they had an unusual sense of humor, because most of what they said never made any sense in the context of where we were or what we were doing, but meant no harm…I don’t know if I would have ever figured it out if my wife had not left her messenger up so that when I went to use her computer I saw a conversation they were having about the sex we had the previous night. When I called my wife on it, she initially tried to play it off as a one time thing, but I knew based on some of the details of the message that there was no way they would know so much unless she had been sharing with them consistently.”

AITA for being upset that my wife discussed our sex life with her sisters, mom and friends for years without my knowledge even though she only said positive things? from r/AmItheAsshole


With issues with tech snooping on your partner aside — though, to be real, in just about every situation, this is really ill-advised and a breach of trust that you just shouldn’t do! — it calls to mind a really common issue: Where does your privacy and limits for sharing your sex life end and your partners’ start? Is there any way you can talk about parts of your sex life with mutual friends, family or acquaintances in a way that isn’t violating or crossing a line?

Unfortunately, it’s not a simple “yes” or “no” answer — and, the truth is, the right answer will be different for each partnership and relationship.

After all, every relationship has different emotional, physical and sexual boundaries that you need to iron out — and that includes how much of those inside-the-relationship details each party feels comfortable sharing. So it never hurts to rely on the MVPs in your relationship management arsenal (boundary setting! communication!) to make sure you don’t inadvertently hurt someone you care about by assuming you know what they’re cool with sharing. (But odds are, if you feel like something is too private, too intimate and too something-you-were-trusted-with to divulge in the group chat, maybe just don’t? Read that room and do that soul searching on your own time.)

Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t turn to your personal emotional/sexual brain trust when you need advice or a sounding board or a chance to vent; that is normal and natural and very okay for processing. After all, most people are fine with friends knowing a few dirty details here and there, provided it’s understood that the shared stories/moments aren’t going to be thrown back in their face or used to make them uncomfortable down the line (which is what appeared happened to our Reddit pal.)

So it’s important that you also be very certain that the people you’re sharing privileged information with are going get it and respect your relationship (e.g. no dick jokes, laughter about that weird orgasm face, etc.) If you’re trusting someone with not only your own vulnerabilities but those of your partner, you’re trusting them with a lot.

Otherwise, they have every right to send you to the dog house.

You can and should be open to talking about sex with your friends. Luckily, vibrators are a great subject that won’t mess with anyone’s privacy. Here’s 100 to get you talking: 

Launch Gallery: 100 Vibrators We'd Recommend to All Our Friends

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