Sexual encounters, the shared kind

Deborah Wilber

It was a playback of the 1985 film “The Breakfast Club.” We weren’t in detention, but we were sharing secrets.

A late night in the newsroom had led us to the joint disclosure of sexual intimacies. Finally, something we can all relate to. The differences in our upbringing, age and relationship status faded as we shared in the “me too” and “oh thank God, I’m not the only one” realizations.

We shouldn’t take sex so seriously.

In times of sexual experimentation, we should be able to be transparent with our partner.

That said, when we’re trained that sex before marriage is bad we don’t talk about it, where can we go for information?

Social psychologists Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor propose the theory of social penetration to explain the process of developing deeper intimacy with another person through mutual self-disclosure and other forms of vulnerability.

Our deeply held fears and fantasies are at the very core of our being. We not only open ourselves up to judgement when we share these details, but Altman and Dalmas argue that by doing so, we have created an orderly process in which openness in one person leads to openness in the other.

Weber State Sociology professor Dr. Pepper Glass called the U.S. culture one of oppression when it comes to talking about sex. According to Glass, people have a yearning to share as an outlet of expression.

Utahns are no different from the rest of the world when comes to having a need to express themselves. They are just encouraged to do so within certain parameters.

We live in a puritanical state, so it should come as no surprise that talking about sex is frowned upon.

“We promote abstinence rather than mechanics,” Glass said.

(Graphic by: Aubree Eckhardt)

Utah prohibits teenagers from learning about the intricacies of sex and how to be safe about it.

Not only is turning a blind eye to the necessity of sex education creating adverse effects, but it leaves adults uncomfortable talking about sex.

I would like to use my own experiences and the experiences of others to show that talking about sex is a good thing.

Those of us in Utah who are otherwise encouraged to keep things of an intimate nature behind closed doors are missing out on the opportunity to forge deeply intimate relationships as well as experiencing the very wonders of sex.

David Steele, Ogden native and father to three teenage boys, recalled a period of months in his youth when he had engaged in such a relationship.

“We had sex like three times day,” Steele said. “She didn’t care where we were or who was watching.”

Few of us share in the desire to be watched while having sex, but we can’t say it’s never happened either. When you’re moved by the moment and any place will do, you can never be certain who is watching.

After an evening out with his wife at the local bar, the Steele’s walk home took an unexpected turn with a rush of affection. Their detour ended at a window on the back side of a Catholic church. It is because of this spontaneous shared moment that the husband and wife pair have discovered a deeper layer of intimacy.

Some teenagers in Utah, who are spoon-fed abstinence before marriage rather than learning about sex, will find any way to satisfy their curiosity and their bodies’ natural instincts.

While some of us share in sexual endeavors outside the bedroom for the pure excitement of it, others are forced to seek alternatives because of puritanical norms.

Before being stationed on a ship while serving in the Navy, I thought nooks and crannies were just the places your mom told you to pay attention to when she told you to clean your room. Little did I know, these places are excellent for quickies when you’re out to sea and have nowhere else to go.

The traditional, “let’s go to bed,” doesn’t work so well when you’re on a ship. In the Navy, with six racks stacked three-high on each side with only one foot between them and a curtain, you really don’t have much privacy.

Maneuvering two bodies in such a small space is interesting as you come to find you are more flexible than you originally thought.

This was the case for Andi when her tall, self and 6-foot boyfriend had sex in her ’84 Mazda rx7.

Vehicles have long served as a second bedroom, probably ever since 1908 when the first Ford Model T was created.

If laughter is the best medicine, then laughter about sex must be the next best thing since penicillin.

According to Glass, most embarrassing moments in bed are of a biological or physiological nature.

“We’re taught at a very young age to repress our bodily functions,” Glass said. For those of us who received an education on the fundamentals of sex, we are less apt to be taken by surprise.

There are some things we simply have no control over, so we laugh about them.

Accidents can happen in bed, and no, I’m not talking about the “I don’t have a condom”-type situations. During a little dress up in the bedroom, the 6-inch spike on Andi’s laced boots involuntarily pierced her man’s foot.

Andi apologized emphatically but couldn’t stop laughing.

Sometimes we get carried away in the moment, like my friend from high school who shared with the whole class how a rough night left her arm dislocated. She had quite the conversation with her parents that night.

Steele, now 37, is not entirely willing to experiment anymore for fear of spraining or breaking old body parts.

Of course, shared moments need not involve sexual-experimentation induced trips to the emergency room.

We walk amongst our fellows at school, work and in our community, never forging intimate relationships because we fear self-disclosure. When a situation presents itself, we ought to take advantage by breaking through communication barriers and what better way than sharing intimate desires and experiences?

So, let’s follow suit to the 1990 hip hop duo Salt-N-Pepa and talk about sex, baby.