Communication: it’s bloody hard, right? You just never know what’s going to offend people and whether your words will be hurled back at you in a storm of rage and misery, leaving you cowering in a corner nursing your hurt feelings.
The above is only semi-tongue-in-cheek: I know that words – while they’re sometimes our friends, are often crude tools with which we dig ourselves a massive hole into which we accidentally spew things that we probably shouldn’t have said. Hence: communication’s important, but we all get it wrong sometimes.
It’s hard to give advice to people on the right things to say – although plenty of Pick-Up Artists will try, and tell you that there are specific rules and lines that are scientifically proven to impress strangers. However, usually the only thing anyone can advise is to try and be empathetic, listen to the other person, and for the love of God don’t say anything awful like this. To cover this last category, I’m handing over to the excellent @halfabear, who has some very strong and hilarious opinions on the questions people ask about her sex life.
Since becoming paraplegic I’ve become very used to being asked questions about my health; friends asking how I’m getting on and if I’m in pain, strangers gently prying and trying to find out what’s wrong and how it happened. Nosey but innocuous questions that I generally don’t mind answering, providing that it’s not done insultingly and they understand I won’t answer if a line is crossed. I’ve been quite endeared over the years by the sensitivity that people have approached the subject with.
Well, most of the time.
There is one subject where it appears that all boundaries and sensitivity go out of the window in a heartbeat. Be it friend or stranger, it’s a subject which arouses such curiosity that no answer is simply not good enough, and there really is no way to tread carefully. Sex.
Read about awkward sexual questions, and the hilarious answers she gives people, over on her own blog…