Boundaries of talking about sex in public

What do you think about talking sexually (“I got a butt plug” kind of thing) in public (maybe at the mall) with friends? I like to talk about (often, gay) sex (it’s fun and liberating), and don’t care who hears, but there’s the issue of children sometimes being around without my knowing, and other people having had terrible experiences (e.g. rape). So, how does one appropriately talk about sex while keeping in mind the feelings of those who can overhear? Refrain? Whisper? With a protest banner?

realsocialskills said:

I think, generally speaking, it’s rude to talk about explicit details of sex in public places where you are likely to be overheard.

I think this is especially important in contexts in which people can’t escape easily. For instance, having sexually explicit conversations on the subway is bad because people have no choice but to listen.

This isn’t just a matter of consideration for people who have been raped or otherwise harmed. It’s also a matter of boundaries. Most people regard hearing explicit details about someone’s sex life or fantasies to be a form of sexual behavior. (Similar to how people regard phone sex or reading porn as sexual acts). Talking that way around people who don’t want to hear it can be a form of involving others in your sex life without their permission.

It’s especially bad if you’re talking this way when kids are around, which is generally the case in public places.

It’s different in contexts in which there’s an understanding that sexually explicit conversations are likely. For instance, if you’re at a convention centered around sexuality, then having sexually explicit conversations in convention space is probably not rude. (Having them directly *with* people who haven’t indicated clearly that they want to have that kind of conversation with you *is* rude and creepy, though).

It’s also different if you’re keeping a reasonable distance from others and keeping your voices down. If someone has to be going out of their way to listen in order to hear you, then they’re responsible for their decision to eavesdrop.

Basically, don’t subject people to explicit conversations about sexuality unless they’re willing participants.