Talking "The Talk"

Sep 4, 2014

When did your parents first talk to you about sex? What did they say? 

 Tina Coffelt, an assistant professor of communication at Iowa State, says the sex talk is changing. Even so, some things remain constant. Moms give the talk more often than dads, daughters get the talk more often than sons, and the talk often takes place in a car.

"I think it's because they can avoid eye contact that way."

Emily Wentzell, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Iowa, explains that we have always talked about sex; it's the question of what is and isn't taboo that is changing.

"When we're talking about sex today we're not talking about pleasure usually, we're not talking about fun. We're talking about danger and risk."

"Open communication is now a huge value in mainstream American culture. So we're talking a lot more about sex but also still in ways that keep certain ways taboo. So I wouldn't say it's this shift from Dark Ages to freedom but sort of a change with how we see ourselves and the stories we tell ourselves about what is okay to discuss sexually."

She says that while we may be more open, there's still a decidedly prevalent discourse surrounding sex.

"When we're talking about sex today we're not talking about pleasure usually, we're not talking about fun. We're talking about danger and risk."

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