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Communicating about sex. Words, games, and attitudes. Purposes of sexual communication. Why talk about sex? Society Church Same-sex friends Opposite-sex friends Potential sexual partners Mates. How connected are sex, love, and intimacy?. Janus & Janus (1993):

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communicating about sex

Communicating about sex

Words, games, and attitudes

purposes of sexual communication
Purposes of sexual communication
  • Why talk about sex?
  • Society
  • Church
  • Same-sex friends
  • Opposite-sex friends
  • Potential sexual partners
  • Mates
how connected are sex love and intimacy
How connected are sex, love, and intimacy?
  • Janus & Janus (1993):
    • 69% of men and 75% of women saw sex and intimacy as separate parts of a relationship.
  • NHSLS (1994):
    • Twice as many, to four times as many women as men say they loved their first sexual partner
  • Sex can confuse a relationship
why is sexual communication challenging
Why is sexual communication challenging?
  • Lack of practice
  • Sub-cultural proscription
  • Personal discomfort
  • Ambiguity of all communication
    • Sender-->Sender’s Interpretative System--> Message-->Receiver’s Interpretative System--> Receiver
  • Choice and meaning of words
sex words
Sex words
  • Slang terms are popular among men talking with other men and, to a lesser degree, among men talking with women partners
  • Women seem to prefer appropriate words or no terms at all
  • Women are often offended by men’s choice of words, especially about sexual intercourse or women’s anatomy
more sex words
More sex words
  • From the late 70s to the late 80s, college students shifted towards preferring no words for sexual anatomy.
  • The phrase sexual intercourse has almost disappeared from college students’ expressive vocabulary
  • Women prefer diminutive euphemisms and vague references
what does intimacy mean
What does intimacy mean?
  • Is it love, or just lust?
  • Does passion ignore love?
  • Are love and sex functionally related?
  • Evaluate this old saying:
    • “Men give love to get sex; women give sex to get love.”
cross gender friendship
Cross-gender friendship
  • A relative absence of scripts
  • Influence of sexual roles, eg. dominance and submission
  • Ambiguity of messages
    • Time spent together, smiles and eye contact, and personal attention may be misunderstood to convey sexual interest
    • Social structures, such as social networks or work tasks, may provide welcome boundaries
breaking up is hard to do
Breaking up is hard to do
  • Exclusivity, jealousy, and possessiveness vs. self-awareness and self-acceptance
  • The meaning of rejection
  • Getting to know someone sometimes means learning you don’t want to go further
  • Most breakup scripts are miserably weak
  • Tact and honesty are valuable
  • Clarity is crucial