The question is could other women benefit from talking about sex and sharing their stories? Lucky for us, Pamela Joy explored this and shared her helpful advice as part of TED's “Better Human” series.
After many years of marriage, Pamela and her husband came to a realisation that their sexual desires were not aligned, and that Pamela found herself not wanting to engage in sex as much as her husband. Because of this, they went to see a sex coach - and this is where Pamela realised the power in talking about sex.
That’s where we come in! We have taken all of Pamela’s advice and turned it into a guide to help you if you also feel like you need a bit of help expressing instead of suppressing your sexual side.
After asking herself the question “could other women benefit from talking about sex?”, Pamela reached out to some friends and the response was overwhelming. She arranged for a group of women to meet one Sunday at a local park. That first gathering was a success — full of laughter and tears. “It felt so profound that we decided to get together monthly,” said Pamela.
Months later “Many were experiencing better sex and better relationships just by talking about sex,” Pamela shared of the ladies in the group. She became interested in the bigger topic of women's sexual health and found that she wasn't alone in her struggles - it's believed that 40% of women struggle with some part of sexual function.
Are you interested in forming your own group? Joy offers some suggestions.
GET A GROUP TOGETHER
4-8 participants is a good number for a range of stories and ideas.
In Pamela’s original group they all had a connection to Pamela, but didn’t all know each other. (Joy has mostly worked with women in groups, but she recognises that "men need these discussions, too.")
SET SOME RULES IN PLACE
There were four main guidelines to follow in Pamela’s groups
No judgement (this should be a given)
100% confidentiality (we are strong believers of this one)
Stick to sharing your own personal experiences, not those of the one’s around you.
DON’T give advice (It’s hard not to but remember we are all on our own journey and advice can often make someone feel consciously or unconsciously judged.
HAVE A TRANSITION PERIOD BEFORE AND AFTER THE CONVERSATION
A meeting should last two hours, according to Pamela. Your conversation is unlikely to take up all of that time. People normally take a few minutes to arrive, grab a drink or snack, and settle down; once they've done that, it's a good idea to ask for updates on their sex lives and discuss what they hope to get out of the meeting. At the end of the meeting the conversation should gradually wind down to a point where all members are comfortable for it to end.
TACKLE ONE TOPIC PER SESSION
For her study, Pamela set the topics for the participants’ four meetings. They were:
Meeting #1: Debunking myths: social messages around sexuality;
Meeting #2: Cultivating desire: embodiment, turns-ons and masturbation;
Meeting #3: Exploring fantasy: stories that evoke feelings;
Meeting #4: Embracing passion: censorship in the bedroom.
Approaching these topics in this order allows you to better understand where everyone is coming from in terms of their backgrounds, attitudes, and experiences. Choosing a single topic for each meeting keeps the conversation focused and prevents it from becoming too broad and expansive.
PLACE LIMITS ON SPEAKING
Joy suggested two simple tools in her group to prevent anyone from dominating: a talking stick and a timer. When someone held the talking stick, they could speak without being interrupted, and a timer limited each person's speaking time to ten minutes.
KNOW WHEN TO GET EXTRA HELP
Sometimes peer support and a sense of not being alone is enough, but Pamela strongly encourages individuals to reach out and seek more help if they require it. “I like to think of it as being part of a fantastic sex team. One component is talking to peers; another is working with a coach, therapist, or medical doctor, as well as taking online classes and reading books.” she shared.
If you want to hear more about Pamela reclaiming her sexual desire watch her TED Talk below:
What are you waiting for? Go get your group together and rediscover that sexual mojo!