Dating in Singapore: 3 in 4 unable to broach topic of sex

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Often find it a challenge to talk about sex with a date? You’re not alone. A recent survey conducted by Durex and dating app Coffee Meets Bagel found that while 54 per cent of Singaporeans think it is important to talk about sex with their dates, less than half of them (23 per cent) actually do.

This is even though the majority is keen to find out what sex means to their date (63 per cent) and their views on the appropriate timing for sex (59 per cent). Forty per cent of Singaporean daters are simply uncomfortable with broaching the subject of sex, with the top three reasons being:

1) I don’t want to seem promiscuous (51 per cent)
2) I never talk about it, so I don’t know how to (39 per cent)
3) It’s too embarrassing (38 per cent)

The gender divide

The study also uncovered a contrast in how men and women perceive sex, and what they want from conversations around sex.

When asked what daters they interested in learning more about, men expressed interest in finding out how to bring up the topic of sex while women were largely concerned about setting boundaries.

Women were also more focused on health and safe sex, and more interested in knowing their dates’ STD history and latest test date (59 per cent vs 34 per cent compared to men) and their views on contraception (49 per cent vs per cent).

Wearing a condom during sex was also hugely important for more women than men, with 70 per cent of women ranking it “very important” as compared to 36 per cent of men.

Starting a conversation

But whatever the reasons behind our discomfort, it is important that we broach the subject.

“It’s so easy to assume you and your dates want the same thing when it comes to sex and intimacy, but this often leads to confusion and hurt. For example, having sex may mean an exclusive relationship to you. But for your date, sex may be something they need to experience to decide if they want an exclusive relationship with you,” says Dawoon Kang, co-founder and Chief Dating Officer of Coffee Meets Bagel.

“Talking about sex can be daunting – but know that if you can learn to talk openly about sex with your date, you can talk through just about anything. And that sets you up for an amazing, long-term relationship!”

She adds that it’s natural to be nervous at first, and that it’s all about mustering the courage to initiating the convo.

“First, name your emotion. For example, ‘I feel a bit nervous talking about this.’ Acknowledging the awkwardness will make you feel better and prepare your date. Second, lead with why you want to talk about sex now so they don’t make any assumptions about your intentions. Third, ask for consent. For example, ‘Hey, is sex something you are interested in talking about?’ Once you have permission from them, it will be a lot easier to talk about it.”

Read on for more tips on how to talk about sex with someone you’ve just started seeing.

Start talking about sex outside the bedroom

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This acts as a neutral setting and helps to remove expectations.

Get on the same page by talking about your definitions

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Different words mean different things to different people, so be specific.

Lay out clearly what you like and what you don’t

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This helps to set boundaries and guides your partner for mutual pleasure and understanding.

Make safety an early part of the conversation

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Also be prepared (e.g. bring a condom) so you can focus on your partner rather than worrying about logistics.

This article was first published in Her World Online.