Friday, October 3, 2014

Phallic Friday - talking about sex

I've been thinking a lot about how we talk about sex ('we', being me, my friends and family, and society). I've been thinking about it ever since I started this column. I felt I needed to be more candid about sex, more accepting about what I write, and more 'adult' in dealing with topics that aren't so comfortably discussed in mainstream conversations.

I was at a family do recently with extended family members of the generation ahead of me (so they're all late 60s to late 70s). I'm fairly sure that Dad has shared with them what I write 'erotic romance' but no one has ever discussed this with him, nor with me.

My family are conservative, religious Catholics. You'd say middle class, city people for the most. All in the group this day were in long-term, death-do-us part marriages, although one brother is divorced. In my generation there have been divorces, children born out of wedlock, affairs, drug-use, mental illness, abuse from spouse/partner and other such things. So I don't see the adults as sheltered because they've all had to deal with the fallout from these events...and they've discussed these issues amongst themselves. writing is spoken of in general terms, never specifics. For example, "I have a friend who needs help with writing, will you help her?" Never, "Do you have any books published?"

These people make smutty jokes, use sexual innuendo, and laugh about sex. Yet we can't have a conversation about what I write. Why is this?

I brought up my writing a few times (for the first time) and called it 'a little raunchy' but still no follow up conversation or question about me - just how I can help a friend, or how I could help them find something Australian to read in print!

I'd like to ask them directly why we can hedge around sex as a topic, but never discuss it as we do other things (like Church, kids, community, family)...but I feel I need to tread softly so as not to ostracise them completely. It's taken 4 years to get someone to acknowledge that I write...better not scare them by being too direct!

Is sex a topic you're comfortable discussing with friends or family? Or is it just too personal?


  1. It kind of depends on the friend. I can think of 2 friends who I've had very frank discussions with on all manner of sexual subjects. My sister, maybe not so much and my mum... err, no. Not really.
    I have 2 boys who are still very young, but I like to say to them that they can ask me anything about anything and I'll tell them the answer as best I know it or as best I can. I also say to them that they could never do or tell me anything that was so bad that I wouldn't love them... (that's not quite the same as what you're talking about though).
    I'm glad your family are broaching the subject of your writing. Baby steps. Many of my extended family on my mum's side have read my books now, but mine aren't quite as graphic as yours.
    Typical visit from Lily, no real answers for you...


    1. Hey Lily,
      It's funny how you can often have more frank discussions with friends than with family.

      Hope your boys do freely chat to you about everything as they grow up. I had a friend I worked with whose kids were like that with her - it was a wonderful relationship they had.

      Yeah, baby steps with my family! LOL that's what it's about!

      And I never expect answers, just a chat ;)

      Thanks for chatting!

      Cate xoxo