Q&A: "Why would you talk about sex in your presentation?"

QUESTION: "Why would you talk about sex to a group of LDS singles?!" 

This was a question on one of my evaluations from a recent workshop on "Speaking Manglish and Womanese: Bridging the Gender Gap" that was given to a group of LDS mid-singles (that means middle-aged single adults) who wanted to learn more effective ways of relating with the opposite sex. A couple of others commented similarly. Now, to be fair there were only a few negative comments out of 80+ people who attended and most comments were very positive and the group was great and laughed a lot and many came up to share how much they liked it and how helpful it was. So I'm not trying to fixate on the negative comments, which were just a few out of many positive ones. However, I thought the question deserving of an answer and might be interesting for discussion.

The section on sex was just one of several areas discussed (see topics addressed here). My thought in reply to that question was, "Why WOULDN'T I talk about sex to a group of middle-aged singles, many of which have been married before?" Many of these singles have had sex in the past and likely will again. Especially when sex and intimacy are one of the BIG conflict areas in many relationships, why wouldn't I discuss it candidly and respectfully in a way that can help many couples? That was my thought.

Now, knowing I was speaking to an LDS audience (of which I am also an active member of the LDS faith) I knew I had to be careful and respectful as I know there is a segment of this population who have a hard time with discussing sex openly. And I believe I was, though I am also direct. To preface the discussion I quipped, "I'm assuming all of your parents had sex..." which got a good laugh from the audience. The reason I specifically included this in a presentation to singles as just one part of a larger discussion on bridging the differences between men and women is that sex is an assumed part, if not overtly admitted, of singles activities—to attract those of the opposite sex with the hope that physical intimacy at some time will be a part of that union.

Anyone: How would you answer that question?

If you're LDS and single: What would you think of that discussion in a presentation to singles about men and women?

I posted the above on Facebook and these are the replies I received:

A.M.B., married woman, mother, active LDS: 

If it were a group of young (never marrieds) I might question it, but to the age group you specified it sounds like a perfectly fine thing to talk about. It's not like it's some secret.

K.C., married woman, mother, active LDS: 

Even to young never marrieds, I don't see a problem with that at all. Hang ups about sex can really affect marital happiness and it might be good to learn about all of that before marrying someone. Even my World Religions teacher brought up sex when talking about Taoism the other day. There were a few blushes when Brother Choi talked with absolute candor about female and male anatomy, but this information shouldn't be shameful or embarrassing. We are sexual, creative beings and the proper understanding and use of sexuality can bless lives. That's what I would say, anyway. If Brother Choi at BYU (who is also good friends with Elder Holland) can use "penis" and "vagina" in his classes then I don't see why you can't.

C. L., married woman, mother, active LDS: 

It's because people DON'T talk about sex that we have an ongoing battle in our society of making sex more and more salacious or more and more taboo. While some people feel sex shouldn't be discussed in an open and respectful forum such as this one, it leaves more room for irresponsible sexual conversation to take place — which then leads to misinformed viewpoints that can lead to trouble in marriage. Hello, pornography! Sex isn't bad; it's how it can be used in a relationship that can be destructive.

A.M.B., married woman, mother, active LDS: 

There is WAY TOO MUCH sex talk in our society today. It's a constant thing. It's thrown in our face left and right. Preteens are even talking about it. I think that there should be the basics taught (by parents), and there is no business going further. I think all the sex talk is what causes the porn addictions. The way that the media and society define "perfect" in terms of bodies, etc.

C. L., married woman, mother, active LDS: 

I can see your point, A.M., which is why I had clarified by saying in an open and respectful forum like Jonathan's. Not many pre-teens attend these. Our society has taken advantage of the fact that sex has been kept a mystery or an enigma by parents (those who don't teach it) and have shoved their way in to fill in the void. This is what happens when there is silence. Someone or something will make the noise. Do we want society or media to make the noise? Or do we want professionals such as Jon to do so? Especially when these are grown LDS single adults? We have to take back our society's culture through responsible education.

K.C., married woman, mother active LDS: 

But the problem is that some parents have a skewed sense of sexuality because the parents and family are afraid of the subject matter and discussions don't take place. At all. Like C.L. is saying, instead of home, people get info from friends, TV, etc. I'm not advocating sex education in Jr. High or High School, but for LDS singles who want to get married this might be important information so they don't make naive choices or mistakes.

S.H., married male, father, active LDS:

Because "doin' it" is fun.

M.M., single woman, divorced, mother active LDS: 

Information is POWER ... Everyone deserves to know about sex ... Even UNMARRIED people and MARRIED People, & CHILDREN, & TEENS & GRANNY & GRAMPS!!! ... I Agree with you ... Why wouldn't you discuss sex with this or any such group group? OSTRICH SYNDROME is too prevalent around here some times ...

J. J., formerly a recent young single male, just newly married, active LDS: 

I think it's great, as long as its very general sometimes it just is something that needs to be talked about. It's a part of relationships and single men and women need to open up and enjoy the talk. We aren't 8 year olds anymore people. It will come up eventually, so why not get away from the awkward bug and say what's on your mind...

 What are YOUR thoughts on this question? Add your comments below.