Sex is something we all think about, it's something most of us participate in (or would like to), and it's everywhere in our culture, reflected in advertising, fashion, music, movies and TV.
When a topic so universally important can be so difficult to talk about, it's no surprise our culture can be confused, leading to everything from sexual dysfunction and deviance to lack of understanding between the sexes. This lack of sexual communication greatly affects our relationships, which in turn affects nearly every facet of society.
How Does It Start and What Can We Do to Fix It?
Because we don't really talk openly about sex as a society (as children with our parents or later on as adults with each other), there are a lot of assumptions going on. We often believe sex is something we should just naturally be "good" at, when in reality, the key to being a great lover is open communication with your partner.
Leave your ego at the door. If you truly want to have a great sex life, realize that it takes more courage to talk and listen to your partner than to assume you already know how to fulfill them.
It's very rare for anyone to grow up without some negative connotations regarding sex, whether it be from bad body image (being told you're not attractive or thin enough), to some religious beliefs which tell us sex is bad or immoral. When you combine two peoples' negative beliefs, the chance for miscommunication greatly intensifies.
Give yourself a reality check. Are you still listening to the outdated recordings of your parents or an archaic society going around in your head? If these belief systems were actually effective, our society might not be in the state it's in.
Sex is an extremely intimate act. Whenever we feel vulnerable, we tend to put walls up, which make it almost impossible for healthy dialogue. Fear of rejection, of not performing "well" enough, and of disclosing unconventional sexual desires are just a few of the fears which stop us from communicating openly.
Work on your self-esteem. Don't transfer your old insecurities into a current relationship - get rid of unhealthy baggage before engaging in an adult relationship!
We're brought up to believe that sex is the most "private" of topics, and is simply not talked about.
Times have changed! We don't advocate broadcasting your sexual life to strangers, but sex MUST be talked about with your partner in order for you both to be satisfied - there's simply no way around it!
If you don't have the proper vocabulary to express yourself, you're fighting a losing battle. If you are uncomfortable even using sexual terms in conversation, communication will be that much more difficult.
Education is the key. With the advent of the internet, there's absolutely no excuse why you shouldn't be taking advantage of it for educational purposes, and there's no reason to be embarrassed about it - it's more embarrassing not to be educated! If you know your way around female/male sexual anatomy, sexual positions, techniques etc., you're halfway there! Make sure you know what your preferences and boundaries are, so you can clearly communicate your needs to your partner. There's no need to waste time mind-reading.