Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brown Bag 3/29: Jaclyn Friedman

Today we had the honor of hosting Jaclyn Friedman at our Brown Bag. Jaclyn Friedman is the co-editor of Yes Means Yes and author of What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety. The latter of the two was what her discussion was focused on today. Here are two things that stood out to me (not a summary by any means):

We need to be teaching young adults (and all ages for that matter) tools instead of teaching rules. We all know the rules of what one should and should not do: don’t take a drink someone has given you, don’t walk home alone at night, lock your car doors when driving, don’t put yourself in potentially dangerous situations, etc. Although these are sound suggestions, they aren’t working. If they were, we wouldn’t have any problems, but we do. Instead we need tools to help us make decisions. What are the risks? How big are the risks in pursuing your sexual wants? What would happen if these risks came into play? How likely are these risks going to happen? And don’t forget, what are the awesome things that could happen? Every decisions involves risk, thus weighing the risks with the potential benefits is crucial when making decisions about your sexuality.

How to talk to your partner about... SEX!  Yes, I know. We usually love talking about sex (Cosmo anyone?), but as soon as we are with our partner, mum’s the word. Ironic, no? But, talking about sex can you improve your sex life! (I bet Cosmo doesn’t tell you that their magazines… They should hire Jaclyn…) Yes, talking about what you want and what your partner wants gets rid of all awkward psychic reading and you both get what you really want. So, here are some tips of opening the gates to communication:
  • Use your strengths: Use your communication style when talking to your partner. If you are funny, be funny! If you are serious, be serious! If you are blunt… (I think you know where I’m going with this)
  • Tell on yourself: So you have the perfect moment to bring up something with your partner that has been on your mind. But, for some reason the words just can’t come out. Instead tell your partner that there is something you’ve been wanting to say but have been struggling to bring it up. This way you know your partner is giving you support and attention to help facilitate a discussion (hopefully).
  • Boost your confidence: There was a study done that people who played a video game with a powerful character were more likely to flirt with someone they found attractive. Moral of the story: do something you are AWESOME at before having the discussion. This will boost your confidence so you can work up the nerve to finally get those things off your mind.
  • Do it anyway: You can be nervous and do it anyway. You won’t regret it. Cue the Kelly Clarkson song: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!…”
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: This is the ultimate cure for being awkward. The more you talk to your partner about sex, the easier it will get each time.

Obviously much more was discussed than I can write down. If you are curious as to what else Jaclyn Freidman had to say, check out her book! I would highly recommend it.

-Michelle Van Veen

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