There is a sad truth to life around here: Despite being in one of the most open sexual times in history, we are still horribly sexually repressed. While we like to think that we’re part of a fairly open country, the United States has more laws governing sexual behavior than all the European nations combined. In fact, the only legally sanctioned sexual act in the United States is private heterosexual intercourse between married adults.

That’s a twisted rule when everyone has to find Catherine Zeta Jones-Douglas universally hot.

The number of sexual taboos that exist inhibit our ability to communicate to our partners about how to please one another. Its effect can be traced all the way to how we behave with our friends, family and co-workers. In order to be more open with our sexual partners, we must understand the sexual perceptions that exist in the first place.

Our modern views of sexuality are rooted in the old Victorian ideal, whereby men are traditionally expected to maintain high levels of sexual interest and pursue sexual opportunities with a quest for physical pleasure – a.k.a., vagina. Women, however, are expected to engage in sex only in an engagement/marriage and for intimacy rather than physical pleasure. And Isla Vista knows girls never just fuck for pleasure.

The ramifications of this sexual double standard are clear and severe. Women who are very sexually active are often considered as being less attractive as life partners, having low self-respect and self-esteem, and voluntarily being debased as sex objects. Words such as “slut,” “skank” or “whore,” are just a few to describe promiscuous women, while no such words exist to describe the similarly irresponsible men. Didn’t anyone see those half-naked Chippendale wannabes over Halloween weekend? True, there were plenty of bare-skinned girls, but obviously this is not just a girl thing.

Why is that? And you may notice that in some parts of your relationship, deep down, you are unclear how to approach your partner and let him or her know how you want to be touched. How you want to take it slow, kiss each other softly and make love. Or even how to tell her that you want to use every orifice in her body as a receptacle.

What we’ve learned about sex in our early years directly affects how we act sexually around our partners. Because sex itself is still considered taboo, we most likely learned about sex from our friends or, like me, from Cosmo sex quizzes and classes with the Baldwins. In many parts of this country, sex education is still believed to be the number one factor in the rise of teenage sex, even though no study has ever shown the correlation between teenage sex and sex-ed classes.

Unfortunately, this means that you might be communicating with someone who might know a lot about sex, or nothing at all. I’ve had ex-boyfriends who couldn’t find my clitoris even with a map, a compass and a tour guide. But then again, I’ve had Mr. Love Kitten who knew exactly what it was, and why his slippery, sliding, succulent tongue belonged there. Ohhh yeah.

Still, I get the distinct feeling that the majority of us don’t know how to truly express our inner love-muffin comfortably.

Communicating with your partner about sex is as important as the act itself. This problem becomes more acute when you enter into a serious relationship. Knowing your partner is a must. Talk to him or her about what turns them on. Does she like swirls when you’re fingering her? Does he like ice in your mouth when you’re blowing him?

These subjects should be addressed openly and in comfort. Don’t be afraid that your question will be followed by, “Are you fucking serious?!” There are worse things than being a savvy communication wizard with sexually creative skills that might mortify the average FT resident.

Daily Nexus sex columnist Beth Van Dyke had a bad week. Send her your love at .