S-E-X: Giving ‘Em Something To Talk About
March 8, 2013

S-E-X: Giving ‘Em Something To Talk About

What is your normal Bar? Oh, what is a normal bar, you ask? Well, as CNN reveals in its article, “Are You ‘Normal’ in Bed,” it is a book by Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, and James Witte (the latter two are sociologists) called (conveniently) The Normal Bar that attempts to ease people’s concerns about their own sexual relationships and interests. However, it does this not just by identifying what is normal for most couples, but also by helping people understand that we all vary in our sexuality; from our tastes in romance to our interest in kink.

So, the normal bar is not just a level to compare one’s own sex life to, but it is meant to get couples talking about their sex lives, trying new things, and learning about what is healthy for each of us. For so many, to talk about sex is to enter into an uncomfortable conversation. However, The Normal Bar book tries to dispel some of that myth and help people become more comfortable with sex and talking about sex.

Ear Worm Alert! If you are anything like me, then Salt-N-Pepa’s early 1990s song, “Let’s Talk About Sex” is now running through your mind. If it wasn’t then, it is now. Sorry, but I could not help but hear the song’s words as I read about The Normal Bar.

Back to the discussion at hand, I do not know why s-e-x is a bad word for so many, but I do know tons of people who clam up when one even says the word. But Northrup, Schwartz, and Witte are trying to help people move past that into a sex-full relationship.

CNN further reported about the way couples compare their own sexual activities to others’ and questioned whether that was healthy. As one contributor stated: “‘It’s tempting to think that statistics about how often other people have sex can tell you how often you should be having sex,’ explains Emily Nagoski, a sex health educator. ‘But other people’s sex lives have nothing to do with yours. Experiencing sex differently doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong, it just means you’re doing it differently.’”

The article further explained that the benefits of comparison can be empowering if it makes us feel validated or less alone in our experiences. Because sex talk can make people uncomfortable, we often do not know what is “normal.” Thus this discussion of sex may help many couples and even individuals to feel the comfort they need in their sexuality.

The discussion of sex moved toward an understanding of what is “normal” for most couples by focusing on how often they have sex, how sexually adventurous they are, and how they romance each other outside of the bedroom. The article gave a little nugget of golden interest: 86 percent of all men and woman are at least intrigued by having kinky sex. In this case, kinky was not necessarily indicative of sex that is forbidden or even dangerous. Kink meant different, spicing up the bedroom. This seems pretty natural. After all, who wants the same ole, same ole between the sheets?

Sex is good. We all love it…we all want it. Now, with help from The Normal Bar, we might find the inspiration to go to our lover and get it. So, let’s talk about sex, baby…let’s talk about you and me.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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