How do you talk to children about sex?

“I don’t remember you ever sitting down and talking to me about sex,” Bee said to me when she was down for a visit last week. My friend Lucy was there and we were looking at a set of books about discussing bodies, sex and relationships with children.

These books in fact, from Educate and Empower Kids:

30 day of sex talks

“Well,” I said, feeling bad in case it was something I had totally forgotten to do, “I don’t think it should be a case of actively sitting down and spewing it all out. It should be more of an ongoing dialogue, a continuous learning process.”

This sounded legit. Plus I definitely remember showing Bee and a group of her friends how to use a tampon. (Not actually the insertion process, more of a detailed mime.)

“Being around your mum growing up was basically one long sex education class,” added Lucy helpfully.

Well. Quite.

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How often does the average person have sex? Dispelling the three times a week myth

How often have you had sex in the last month?


If you coughed a bit and looked sort of embarrassed then fear not; a third of Britons haven’t done it at all. Not once. That’s apparently the reality of modern Britain – we’re doing it less than ever and, when we do, we’re not even sure we’re as good as we once were.

I’ve not been out asking people in the street or anything, this is all coming from a comprehensive study undertaken by The Observer, and to be honest it makes for fairly depressing reading. The survey is a follow up to the one they carried out in 2008 and shows some rather worrying trends. Some people believe the results are a reflection of a depressed economy and people working harder than ever – as parents particularly we all know how much more attractive sleep can seem than sex when you’ve been mentally battling a toddler for 14 hours straight.

I wonder too how much is to do with mobile technology and a tendency to sit in the evenings dual screening rather than retiring to the bedroom for an early night. Come on, admit it – have you ever thought about having sex but instead turned to Twitter or WhatsApp? There is much less effort involved when the person you’re interacting with can’t see that you’re in pudding stained pyjamas and haven’t shaved your legs since Christmas. View Full Post

Is noisy sex better sex?

When trainee journalist Rhiannon Davies asked if she could write a guest post for my blog I was very flattered, and excited too. When I read her piece on the joys of noisy sex though, I must admit I felt a teensy bit inadequate. Since moving to a smaller house, with children’s bedrooms either side of me, loud sex is rather tricky.

To comfort myself that my sex life is fine even if the neighbours aren’t banging on the wall, I asked mum of three Ella Tabb, aka Purple Mum, to give a different side of the story, and the explain why in her opinion, quiet sex can be just as good.

Which side of the fence (or should that be bed?) do you sit on? We’d love to know what you think – is noisy sex always better sex?

Rhiannon says…

We’ve all been there, whether it’s a new housemate at University with a tendency to, ehem, ‘voice their opinion’ in the bedroom, a noisy neighbour, or a new house where suddenly your kids are on either side of your boudoir. Culprit or victim, loud sex is a sound familiar to all of our ears.


For me, there’s no question that loud sex is better sex (have you never heard the phrase ‘scream if you wanna go faster’?). In my opinion, if you’re relaxed enough to belt out your pleasure, then everything is going to feel better. But then, I’ve never faked an orgasm, and having been the one desperately tearing my room apart to find my head-phones and drown out the noise, I can certainly see why the debate against noise equalling pleasure is there.

To prove to those of you who don’t believe in loud sex, I’m going to get out the big guns and rebuff you with science. Screaming-sex requires a lot of oxygen going in and out of your lungs, thus, oxygenated blood is spread everywhere, making things a lot more sensitive (girls, you have twice as many nerve endings as men, I am talking to YOU). Gym bunnies – why do you exhale when you lift weights? Because it lets your muscles r e l a x, the point of orgasm is a contraction of muscles, moaning releases the tension. Basic biology.

On an emotional level (and provided that you aren’t faking), loud sex lets your partner know that you’re enjoying yourself. How are you supposed to tell them what you like if you say nada? I’m a firm believer in being able to laugh during sex, and although I’m not suggesting you wake your neighbours up with well-placed humour, noise in the bedroom can be a great a bonding opportunity, stop wasting it.

I’m not saying go at it like a porn-star, but when it feels good, what’s wrong with saying so? Let’s face it, they’re going to hear the sound of the headboard banging against the wall anyway, so why not complete the symphony. If you don’t mind the idea of being loud, but hate the idea of being overheard, wait until they are out. If you can’t wait, well, it’s obviously too good not to share.

Ella says…

Science has proven that noisy sex results in better orgasms. I’m not entirely sure that in my case I agree. Ok first up I am not judging you if noisy sex is your thing. In fact I have to admit I’m a teeny bit in awe of you, but I don’t think I will screaming in the throes any time soon and here’s why.

"Lego man"Firstly I have children, three children in fact, and noisy sex could result in waking the children, this would not lead to a better orgasm! Basically when you’re a parent sexy time does change somewhat. Going from doing it whenever and wherever you fancy to grabbing a stolen moment when the children are asleep, on the rare occasion that you are not completely knackered from the sheer relentlessness of parenting. The location goes from finding somewhere new and fun to bonk to finding somewhere not covered in lego (ouch) and not too close to the children’s bedroom. Anyway I digress.

The other reason I am a quiet lover is that it basically doesn’t occur to me to make any noise. I am just naturally quiet in bed, which is odd considering that on any other occasion you literally cannot shut me up. I have tried to make more noise, thinking a little heavy breathed screaming might help my partner feel appreciated, bedroom applause so to speak. However doing so made me feel a bit silly, and took me away from the moment and into my head which is not very sexy at all. Virtually impossible to orgasm whilst thinking I really must make it sound like I am enjoying myself.

So there you have it, if noisy works for you then that’s great, and apparently your orgasms will be better than mine. I have to say though I am perfectly happy being quiet in bed.

Massive thank yous to both Ella and Rhiannon for such honest and entertaining posts.

Guest post from the world’s most unlikely sex blogger

I should clarify – this is how she describes herself, not me passing judgment.

For a while now I’ve been following, in a completely non pervy way, the sexual exploits of Betty Herbert, whose blog has recently become a book – The 52 Seductions. I was absolutely delighted then when Betty agreed to be a guest on my blog, talking about her writing experiences.

She has also very generously offered to give away a signed copy of her book to one lucky reader, so if you fancy learning a few new moves, just leave a thoughtful comment on this post over the next week, and a winner will be picked at random. Over to Betty…

I am possibly the world’s most unlikely sex blogger.

Setting aside the fact that, when I started writing The 52 Seductions, I hadn’t had sex for four months, there were other issues that didn’t weigh in my favour. For example, I would cross the road to avoid anything vaguely sexy in books or on TV. And, frankly, I found adults who were ‘into’ sex more than a little bit creepy. View Full Post

A letter of complaint to an ex-boyfriend

Today I have great pleasure in hosting a guest post from one of my readers, a lovely lady by the name of Beth.

Beth first commented on my blog on a post last summer called Once Upon a Time, a story about the one and only time in my life when I have had my heart truly broken. Most of the time my blog is fairly frivolous, but this post and Beth’s comment have stuck in my mind ever since, as the one time where I’ve felt like something I’ve written may have actually made a tiny difference in someone’s life.

This week Beth responded to a post I wrote about orgasms, commenting on her ex-partner’s rather selfish attitude in the bedroom, and I invited Beth to vent her frustrations in a formal letter of a complaint, in the hope that it would help her to lay to rest these ghosts of boyfriend past.

Beth took up the challenge, and here she is! Please make her very welcome…

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Today I have been thinking about orgasms.

According to New Boyfriend, the natural ratio of male to female orgasms – ‘me time’ and sex toys aside – is five to one, three to one if you’re lucky. Apparently this is Nature’s Way. Something to do with cavemen and childbirth

I’m pretty sure he is just saying this to wind me up, which seems to be the case with 95% of the things he says, but it did make me wonder.

“Ask anyone,” he said, “it’s just a fact.”

“Rubbish,” I countered, “women are definitely supposed to have more. How about I ask some of your friends next week?”

“Go on then…” he challenged.

“Fine, I will,” I said, easily wound up as I am. “You know it’s the kind of thing I would ask…”

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Perspectives on pornography

Two different people in the last couple of weeks have asked me if I look at porn. Both seemed surprised when I said I didn’t – apparently I strike people as the kind of woman who would.

So I started to think about why I don’t, and how I feel about porn generally. I asked some liberal-minded friends too, male and female.

When I was a teenager, we didn’t have the Internet (can you even imagine it?), and there’s no doubt the proliferation of porn has been massively aided by the spread of cyberspace. It is so much more accessible, and this in turn has led to it becoming more normalised, more an accepted thing for people to do, to look at.

Now I’m no prude, and I’m not adverse to a bit of erotic fiction, but as a visual thing, porn just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe, like my attitude to car maintenance, this is a girl thing – the visual element of sex doesn’t tend to be as important for women as it is for men – but at its most basic level, being presented with the image of strangers shagging isn’t a turn on for me. I need more than that. I’m the same generally – I very rarely find myself attracted to a man based purely on looks, it is about much more than that, and sexual attraction definitely increases in the context of other things, like how well I know a person, how much they make me laugh, how they make me feel about myself.

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Daily Mail shocker: fat women have sex too…

I saw this story in the Daily Mail today (I was looking for work reasons, not for pleasure), and just had to comment….

When I saw it, it was one of the lead stories on the home page. It showed a picture of two attractive women, one fat and one thin. By fat I mean perfectly normal UK size, not a size ten, but not some sort of fifty stone ‘the woman who hasn’t left her bed for ten years’ channel five documentary type fat. It was basically two ordinary women.

The headline next to it read “one is a virgin, one has had 50 lovers. Can you guess which is which? You may be surprised by the answer…”

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Cosmo blog awards – let me be your relationship expert…

Picture the scene…

You’re having some problems in your relationship, or maybe you want some dating tips. You want to avoid the obvious solutions such as open communication with a partner, so naturally you go online. But where do you go?

Well obviously you come here!

We all know this is the place to be for relationship advice. Even the army are taking tips from me don’t forget.

OK, so I may be a lesson more in how NOT to behave if you want to find yourself a partner, but it’s useful nonetheless. And if not useful then hopefully at least mildly entertaining.

So I was thinking, casually to myself you know, that maybe you’d fancy nominating me for one of the new cosmo blog awards – the ‘sex and relationships’ category. It is very straightforward, you don’t have to even fill in your name – just say something vaguely complimentary about me.

I know what you’re thinking – ‘Well what’s in it for me? I’m sick of voting for Jo in stuff…’

So this is my pledge. If I make the shortlist, I promise to pluck up the courage to ask a man out, go on a date, and tell you all about it. I don’t know who yet. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Honestly, I hadn’t even thought of making that kind of promise when I began writing this, and I’m regretting it already. Please don’t nominate me at all, forget I mentioned it…

*has mild panic attack*