Dear Kiki: how can I embrace sex positivity and talk to my partner about sex?

In this month’s Dear Kiki, learn how to boost your confidence when talking about sensitive topics like sex, sex positivity, and pleasure.
sex positivity couple
Photo credit: Trần Long

Dear Kiki,

I have been with my partner for a year. We have a great relationship. He is very communicative and respectful. Every time after we’ve been intimate, he would check in with me to see how I feel. However, I am always super awkward with discussing and “debriefing” the experience. As an Asian female, sex has always been a taboo topic. How can I overcome the shame, so I can have an open dialogue with my partner and improve our relationship and sex life?

Starting the conversation from within

Dear overcoming awkwardness,

Conversations about sex can initially seem uncomfortable, but like anything else, they get easier with practice. There is nothing shameful about sex! 

In Asian households, most conversations about sex tend to be centred around education and prevention (of both pregnancy and sex in general) rather than pleasure or connection. Culturally, many parents in conservative cultures tend to shy away from the topic of sex. They simply may not be comfortable, or they may lack the education or language to broach the topic.

couple sitting
Photo credit: Trần Long

Dismissing our sexuality can shape our sex positivity – or lack of. Without proper self-awareness of our needs may affect how we approach sex for the rest of our lives. Yet, recognizing your discomfort is the first step towards (re)building your confidence in discussing sex with others. 

Additionally, Asian women’s sexuality can often be a polarizing experience. On one hand, oppressive pressures from society or older generations expect Asian women to be pure and perceive sex and pleasure as taboo. But on other hand, the overwhelming fetishization and hyper-sexualization of Asian women can also leave us confused and shy to express our true feelings.

Talking to your partner about sex

couple with a sex positivity mindset
Photo credit: Miriam Alonso

It’s not your fault that you feel this way. Let me reassure you that many people find initial conversations about sex with their partners awkward. It takes time and practice to get comfortable and embrace sex positivity. Most importantly, you and your partner feel physically and emotionally safe during these conversations.

Equipping  yourself with the right resources can empower you to engage in sex positive conversations. Finding a safe and inclusive community may help normalize sex and pleasure for you. Moreover, new knowledge, terminology, and language can help you express yourself and your needs. 

Some ways you can boost your confidence when talking about sex is to talk to close friends. Some conversation starters could involve you asking them about their thoughts about their opinions or struggles with sex positivity. You can also seek online communities like Mochi Magazine and the popular Instagram page @asiansforsexpositivity for resources and folks with similar experiences.

couple holding hands picnic
Photo credit: RODNAE Productions

Once you feel more confident about being sex positive and talking about sex, consider having a talk with your partner. It doesn’t need to be immediately after sex or serious. Whenever you choose to have that conversation, gently check-in to make sure they’re also feeling ready. Be honest about how you’re feeling . By acknowledging your discomfort, it may eventually make it easier to have longer and more in depth conversations about sex and pleasure.

Ultimately, communication is an important part of making sure sex is safe and enjoyable. By investing in these conversations and reframing your mindset around sex, you’ll strengthen your bond with your partner, body, and your relationship with yourself. 

See also:

Dear Kiki is Cold Tea Collective’s advice column and it is published in the last week of every month. To get advice from Kiki, submit your questions and comments here. Or, subscribe to our newsletter to get Kiki’s advice straight to your inbox on the last Sunday of every month.

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