unSEXpected x Respect Week: Learning to be a Better Communicator  

I often write about the importance of communication, and every time I do I feel like an incredible hypocrite. Not because I don’t believe in what I preach, but because I’ve discovered I’m not all that great at practicing it.  

I am a chronically honest person, to a fault. I rarely shy away from expressing vulnerability. And yet, I find myself struggling to share my thoughts, particularly in the context of casual sex. Unsurprisingly, my sex life is struggling because of it. This must be fixed.  

If you also struggle with communication, I’ve come up with a six-step plan we can work through together.  

Step one: Identify the problem.  

In my case, I am the problem.  

Step two: Tell yourself you are not the problem.  

(You are not). 

Step three: Try step one again. Unpack your struggles. What’s stopping you from communicating effectively? 

If you’re not used to unpacking your behaviours, it might be useful for you to discuss this with a licensed therapist, or a friend that makes up for one. 

In my case, I think I find communication too intimate for casual sex. For some reason, I think if someone gets to know my preferences, they’ll know too much about me, and we will have crossed a line we can’t come back from.  

It feels unfair to ask someone to have to get to know me when it’s not what they necessarily signed up for. It seems overbearing of me to share so much of myself.  

Step four: Think a little further, try and find the root of this issue.  

Writing down your thoughts helps, because once you can visualise the problem, you can begin to understand it.  

In my case, I think my communication problems might stem from insecurity. My reasons sound a lot like being afraid to take up space, which is a problem I thought I had left behind in high school.  

Step five: Brainstorm Solutions.  

You don’t have to do this alone. Do some field research, chat with friends and licensed professionals, bring it up with siblings.  

In my case, I should probably just have an honest, self-aware chat with the people I sleep with. I won’t get better at expressing myself overnight, but it’ll at least be progress. And, realistically, they probably deserve to be in the loop anyway.  

Step six: Try to do better next time. 

It’s all we can do. 

I hope this helps you! (I hope this helps me) If not, there might be a follow-up article sometime within the next six months.  

Have fun, and stay safe x 

UnSEXpected is a Glass column dedicated to the things we learn about sex and intimacy through conversations with friends. If you have any unique, funny or interesting stories you’d like to share, please get in touch! It’s the team’s goal to make this column a fun, safe and diverse space.

Konstanz Muller Hering
Konstanz Muller Hering

Konstanz (she/ they) is a Meanjin/Brisbane-based writer and QUT Creative Writing graduate. Konstanz was a Glass editor, and now contributes as an alumni.

Articles: 24

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