Why Sex Educators Struggle To Talk About Money

January 7, 2014

People who teach others about sex are some of the boldest, most outspoken mother-fuckers I know. They are amazing at what they do. Whether it’s describing all the parts of a vagina in vivid detail or giving actual live sex demonstrations, there is openness about their work that is incredibly honest and refreshing.

So why can’t they talk about money?

Proposing a threesome? Easy.
Prostate massage? Cake.
Holding space to guide someone through releasing years and years of trauma around sexual abuse? No problem.

Asking for money? No fucking way!!!

Money is literally the scariest topic.

What they don’t understand is that conversations about money are just like conversations about sex. The way to speak about money with confidence is to simply speak to what is by not beating around the bush, slowing down the conversation and checking in to make sure everything is clear, and agreed on by both parties.

How can we apply the same lessons in talking about sex to talking about money? Here are three key principles.

Communication is the Best Lubrication

To make things less awkward around money, we actually want to spend more time talking about it, not less. This is counter-intuitive, but if we look at it from the perspective of sex, it makes sense. The more thorough we are, the more relaxed both parties will be. Our goal should be to make sure every little detail is clear and complete.

When I talk about money with someone who wants to hire me, I get into every little detail. I will tell them how much working with me costs. I’ll talk about how they would pay (check, card, PayPal, etc…). I’ll ask them if that sounds like a lot of money. I’ll want to hear what comes up for them when they heard the fee. Did they freak out? Did they think it was too soon to make a proposal? Sometimes that conversation can be extremely useful.

I want to breathe and help them breathe. I want to go deeper and slow the conversation down, I don’t want to run away from it. I’ll share my own story of how I used to be scared of money. I’ll tell them my breakthroughs, my challenges. If this person has hang ups around money, which almost everyone does, I want to take that opportunity to explore those with them. I want the conversation around money to turn us on.

Money is Just Money

What comes to mind when you use the word “money”? Is it the root of all evil? Does having a lot of it make you greedy?  Does having less make you more spiritual? Do you wish you just didn’t have to deal with it? Notice all the associations you have around money.

Here is how I see money. It’s a perfect expression of value. It makes my life easier. It’s a lot easier to exchange a precise money amount than trade goods. Trading goods is what we used to do, and then we invented coins made of precious metals, then paper money, and then electronic money. Money was invented to make our lives easier, and it does.

The problem with only trading services is there is more potential to build resentment. How do you feel when you trade for something but don’t feel there was an equal exchange? Many times when exchanges are made, and they aren’t equal in terms of value, it leaves us feeling dirty and incomplete. Money can solve that… thank God!

In my life, I rarely ever exchange services. My practice is to exchange money, and if it happens that we charge the same amount of money, I will pay them, and they will pay me in return. Doesn’t that feel better? When there is a fair and mutual exchange, it ensures there is nothing incomplete, nothing in the way of a great relationship. I’m so grateful that money exists, because at the end of the day, relationships are more important to me than money.

Don’t Run and Hide

This was acceptable in middle school…

Girl: Do you like my friend Jenny?
Boy: I don’t know, why?
Girl: She likes you, and wants to know if you would go out with her.
Boy: Uh… maybe?

Today the same thing happens with conversations about money. We try to avoid talking about it so we have people pay online, talk to our assistant or have set prices because we would rather not enter the conversation about money. Certainly there are cases where outsourcing this can be beneficial, but remember how important a conversation this is, it may be something you want to be doing yourself.

When I would coach people, my favorite part of a conversation is where we talk about money. Why? It’s often where people’s discomfort and shadows show up the most. That’s my arena! I love it when there is discomfort and awkwardness, because I know a breakthrough is right around the corner.

If I avoided this part of the conversation by simply having a flat rate that people paid online or having my assistant talk money for me, I’d miss out on this golden opportunity to help people. Not only are we missing the chance to serve people when we avoid talking about money, but we are missing the chance to be served. We all have money issues and fears, and by working through them, I’m that much more at ease in my next conversation.

Shine The Light

Sex and money are two of the most taboo subjects in our world today, and people are longing for someone to break the silence. They are longing for someone to come along and tell them it’s ok to talk about the scary things, because when we do, it helps us relate to others on an intimate, human level.

It’s hard… but so is sharing our deepest sexual fantasies. Talking about money doesn’t have to be scary. It can be just as liberating and just as gratifying as your first experience with anal sex.

Now ain’t that some shit.


Get new thought-provoking essays that question the status-quo
(and question questioning the status-quo).