© 2020 Iowa Public Radio
IPR20012_Website_Header_Option2_NewsNavy.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Talking "The Talk"

800px-Box_of_40_Trojan-ENZ_condoms.JPG
BrokenSphere
/
Wikimedia Commons
The sex talk can range from full descriptions of parents' first times to one word: protection.

When did your parents first talk to you about sex? What did they say? 

 Tina Coffelt, an assistant professor of communication at Iowa State, says the sex talk is changing. Even so, some things remain constant. Moms give the talk more often than dads, daughters get the talk more often than sons, and the talk often takes place in a car.

"I think it's because they can avoid eye contact that way."

Talking "The Talk"
Iowa City residents weigh in on what their sex talk was like.

Emily Wentzell, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Iowa, explains that we have always talked about sex; it's the question of what is and isn't taboo that is changing.

"When we're talking about sex today we're not talking about pleasure usually, we're not talking about fun. We're talking about danger and risk."

"Open communication is now a huge value in mainstream American culture. So we're talking a lot more about sex but also still in ways that keep certain ways taboo. So I wouldn't say it's this shift from Dark Ages to freedom but sort of a change with how we see ourselves and the stories we tell ourselves about what is okay to discuss sexually."

She says that while we may be more open, there's still a decidedly prevalent discourse surrounding sex.

"When we're talking about sex today we're not talking about pleasure usually, we're not talking about fun. We're talking about danger and risk."

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa