evaluating those locker room talks

March 5, 2012 § 2 Comments

When reading “The Myth of the Sexual Athlete” by Don Sabo, I first tried to remember what guys in my high school were like. Growing up I was a bit of a tom-boy, so I tended to be a part of many “locker room talks”. Most of my guy friends considered me one of the guys, and I often got the brunt of their (usually quite disgusting) sex talks. I remember feeling pretty horrified when they would talk about their exploits. Being a freshman-sophomore in high school, these boys were new at being sexually active. They would describe smells and clothes and noises, and well… the personal stuff. I never really thought about how most guys talk like this about girls and their sexual experiences.

I decided to get a different experience from someone that I was close to, my boyfriend. He went to a different, much smaller high school than I did. I wanted to see if a smaller town had similar “locker room talks”. Sure enough, he had the same story for me. As we talked about it, it was interesting when he said “we talked about stuff usually in a disrespectful way, until we really liked the girl, then we didn’t discuss sex anymore.” It’s funny that he responded this way, without even knowing what I was reading. Sabo says in his essay, “when sexual relationships were ‘serious’, that is, tempered by love and commitment, the unspoken rule was silence.” It’s funny how shocking it was to me that this manner seemed to be pretty universal within young guys.

Next I thought about when my friends and I started becoming sexually active. I realized that girls felt the exact opposite that guys did. I’m not sure if it’s the social stigma that younger girls (sometimes all girls) having sex automatically makes them a whore, or if we just didn’t talk about it. Either way, girls were much more secretive than guys were about their sexual conquests. I also thought about myself now. Not to be too overly honest, but I do feel like now that my friends and I are older, we talk about guys and sex in a much more open manner than we ever would when we were younger. In a way, the gendered sex talks are completely reversed with age.

I found it interesting when Sabo describes the debate between wanting just eroticism or just wanting an emotional connection. He is right when he says that some guys do experience relationships that are just sexual. I think what isn’t exactly talked about it the fact that girls are/can be a part of this only sexual relationship. It is common in both homo and hetero relationships.

I think it is extremely important for people to reevaluate, redefine, and explore their sexuality. It is something that is without a doubt ever changing. From first sexual experience to adulthood, sex is changing constantly. I enjoyed this article because it allowed me to think about myself, and where I stand in these opinions and situations as a woman.

§ 2 Responses to evaluating those locker room talks

  • After reading your comment, I started thinking about my own experiences with “sex talk” among men vs. women. It’s interesting that you noted that women tend to go into more detail with friends in discussing their sex lives, and I’ve noticed the same thing. More of my female friends tend to bring up sexual experiences with their significant others, either to joke about some aspect of their partner’s sexual performance, intimate expression, etc., or to describe a partner’s unusual proclivity, or to commend/complain about the partner’s abilities in bed. In fact, the guys I’m friends with have, across the board, demonstrated a reluctance to talk about the intimate details of their sex lives with their partners. I’ve even asked a few of them if they discussed sex with significant others with their male friends, and in general, they tended to express reservations about other men knowing about their partners, thinking of them sexually, or sharing private details which the partner might not want others to know. I don’t know if that’s a general trend, or if it was just the guys I spoke to.

    I found a neat (if a bit old) study on the conversational content between same-sex adult friends that examines different topics of conversation and the frequency with which they occur in male-male and female-female conversations. Women were twice as likely to frequently discuss intimate sexual details with their female friends, but it was 5% (for men) vs. 10% (for women) out of a pool of 136, so I don’t know how telling those results are. About 50% of each group admitted to “infrequently” discussing sexually intimate details with close friends, while 41% of women and 45% of men “never” discussed sexually intimate details with their friends. I’d like to know whether this communication pattern has changed in the 30 years since the study was done, and whether that pattern differs in different cultures where the relationship dynamics between men and women are different.

    Here’s the study, if anyone is curious: http://www.springerlink.com/content/t12448ghr4030765/

  • Note: Within the groups of women and men who reported discussing sex with their friends, the women tended to go much more in-depth concerning sexually intimate details than did men.

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