When I first got with my now husband, I was so deliriously besotted with him and our sex life, I shared an extremely intimate video of us with a few of my closest friends.
My friends are used to me being open about sex and asking them all sorts in the interest of research for my books, but this was one step too far in the completely wrong direction.
It was way, way, WAY TMI.
Why did I do it? Mostly because I was happy and excited about my new relationship and wanted to share this with my friends.
Was I wrong to do it? Hell, yes! I still have no idea what I was thinking. (OK, I do. Lust and love send you barmy at the beginning.)
My friends were amused and indulged me but they were also shocked to be shown something so personal. I feel hot with embarrassment every time I think about it – and that was nine years ago.
Tracey Cox reveals the different sex secrets that are OK to talk about with friends (stock photo)
When talking about sex helps
Nearly all of us are guilty of over-sharing details about our sex life. But sharing certain sexual experiences with friends can be a very good thing.
It’s especially important for women to discuss sex.
Conversations about consent, what’s acceptable sexually and what isn’t, what makes us feel uncomfortable, choices we’ve made that we perhaps regret – we need to talk more about these things, not less.
WHAT IS OK TO TALK ABOUT WITH FRIENDS?
DON’T TALK ABOUT…
Kinks or fetishes. Your partner wanting something a little out of the ordinary is usually what has us itching to tell our mates. Resist.
It takes courage to show your true sexual self to your partner. Even if you don’t like what they’ve revealed, be sensitive and discreet.
Penis size. It’s a topic all men are sensitive about. Confess to a girlfriend that he’s on the small side and he will never forget it or forgive you. Those throwaway comments might mean little to you but they mean everything to him when it comes to sexual confidence.
Erection issues. Another no go zone. Tell all your friends he lost his erection or couldn’t get one and you risk turning a one-off incident into a long-term problem.
Negative things. Constantly bitching about your sex life to your friends isn’t fair. If you’re unhappy about it, let your partner know. Venting to friends isn’t going to solve anything.
Something he’s asked you expressly not to share. Obviously, this doesn’t include things he’s done that have harmed you or made you feel uncomfortable. In those scenarios, speak up – and loudly – rather than clam up.
Otherwise, if he wants it kept between the two of you, honour that promise. Or don’t make it in the first place.
Anything you feel pressured into sharing. ‘After a few drinks, my friends are very vocal about their sex lives,’ a shy friend of mine confesses. ‘But for me, sex is personal and it’s private. I don’t want to talk about it and don’t appreciate being forced to, just because others are.’
BETTER TO TALK ABOUT…
Positive things. Telling your friends sex with your partner is amazing and they’re the best lover you’ve ever had, is rarely going to get you into trouble.
A new sex position you tried. Again, it’s pretty harmless stuff. And the fact you’re trying out new positions makes you seem adventurous.
Vibrators. They’re still something we’re most likely to use solo and there’s a dizzyingly large selection to choose from. Talking about one that really works for you is helpful.
The orgasm gap . Men orgasm far more frequently than women do, in almost all sexual encounters. Sharing any technique that helps up the quota for women, is highly recommended.
Why you’re not having an orgasm during intercourse. Back me up by letting other women know orgasms originate from the clitoris and penetrative sex isn’t the best way to stimulate it.
Funny stuff that happened to you. Falling off the bed. Breaking wind at the worst possible time. The cat putting you off your game. Anything that makes you look silly, rather than your partner, is especially safe to talk about.
Ditto how to masturbate, how to close the orgasm gap and problems reaching orgasm. I constantly tell women it’s normal NOT to orgasm during intercourse but lots still think I’m making it up, to make them feel better.
It’s often through frank, honest chats with girlfriends that women discover this is true.
When men talk about sex, it’s often to boast and very little detail is given. When women talk about sex, there’s lots of detail, advice wanted or reassurance needed.
Sharing intimate details of your life is what bonds people. But it can also get you in a lot of trouble and sabotage your relationships.
Talking about your sex life to get advice and information is one thing. Sharing salacious details purely for a laugh at your partner’s expense, or to demean them, is quite another.
When talking about sex ruins your sex life
Things go wrong during sex and no one wants to look like an idiot in front of their partner. Even more humiliating is knowing it’s all going to be turned into a story to entertain all your partner’s friends.
If your partner doesn’t trust you to respect their privacy, they’ll be far less likely to try new things, open up about that ‘out there’ fantasy or ask for something they need to tip themselves over into orgasm.
They will censor themselves and their behaviour in bed, for fearing of being judged by both you AND your friends.
If they can’t truly be themselves in bed – it doesn’t feel safe to confess all those secrets wants and longings – it’s impossible for sex to be enjoyable long-term.
There’s another reason why spilling intimate details about your sex life to others can be detrimental. It stops you talking directly to your partner about the problem.
It’s fine to use friends as a sounding board or to rehearse the conversation before having it with your partner. Just don’t forget to do it.
The best person to talk to about your sex problems is your partner, not your friends. They are the one who needs to know what’s working for you and what isn’t.
Here’s some other tips on how to constructively talk about your sex life with your friends without ruining your relationship.
What do you want from the conversation?
If you want advice, tell your friends this before you start talking. If you want simply to share, to find out if they’ve experienced the same thing, again, make it clear.
Thinking through why you’re sharing before you do it, stops you revealing all for the wrong reasons.
Don’t brag. Everyone thinks everyone else is having better sex than they are. Bigging yourself up feeds all those harmful sex myths and leaves friends feeling unnecessarily insecure. Pretending you orgasm when you don’t is one lie that’s especially unhelpful.
Think about the consequences. What would happen if your partner hears you’ve been talking about this with your friends? Will they laugh it off or will it be a deal breaker?
Share only what’s necessary. If you’re after advice, give a broad sketch of the issue rather than go into minute detail.
Choose the people you confide in VERY carefully. They don’t just need to be trustworthy, they need to be bulletproof trustworthy.
Tracey (pictured) also reveals some tips on how to constructively talk about your sex life with your friends
All sex gossip is good gossip. Almost everyone tells one person and that person is usually their partner. Are you happy with that? Is that person’s partner close to your partner? How likely is it to get back to them via this friend?
Even if your partner doesn’t mind you talking about your sex life, it’s not pleasant hearing about it via the grapevine.
Ask your friend if they’re comfortable keeping the information private before you confess. Impress on them just how important it is to you that this doesn’t become gossip.
Don’t share with ‘judgy’ friends. You won’t be the first person to tell a close friend about something you thought was daring and exciting, only to be judged for it.
‘I went out with a man who liked to watch me watch gay porn,’ said one 32-year-old woman. ‘I liked it – it turned me on to watch him turned on.’
When she told her best friend, she branded it ‘creepy’ and ‘weird’. ‘I knew she was a prude but it never felt as good after that.’
One person’s kink is another person’s yuk. Do you trust this person to be kind and not make you feel bad about yourself?
Tracey suggested that you should always get your partner’s permission before sharing any funny details with friends. Stock image
Get your partner’s permission. Something hilarious happened and you’re dying to tell your bestie? Check first. Some people are more than happy turning funny sex exploits into dinner party entertainment. If that’s the case, tell the story together.
Others see it as disrespectful and embarrassing. In which case, shut up.
Remember: some of the most open people are very private about their sex lives. Don’t assume. Check.
Don’t do it online. Ever. Under any circumstances. It can stay there a very long time and what you feel like sharing in that post-sex euphoric moment, might not seem like such a great idea when the buzz has worn off – or the relationship has ended.
Don’t do it at work. Today’s environment is far more politically and sexually sensitive than before.
You might think your recent sexual exploits are hugely entertaining, your co-worker might just feel uncomfortable. If you value your job, don’t chance it.
If you’re on the phone talking about sex to a friend, check no-one else is in earshot.
Visit traceycox.com for more advice about sex and relationships and to find Tracey’s books and sex toy ranges.