And no, one of them isn’t Kevin (lolol). This is a post I’ve wanted to write for some time now but it’s the kinda thing that I’ve been a bit daunted by the prospect of. I guess it’s the sort of post you either read and think, “yes, she makes an excellent point”, or “oh shut up”. I just hope it’s the former on this occasion. Because there are PLENTY of “taboo” topics that need to be spoken about more.
I’m certainly not new to writing these sort of posts, you’ll find plenty more online, but I did want to stick my two-pence in. Chances are, a lot of the same topics are going to crop up time and time again and perhaps if enough of us talk about how they need to be talked about more, we’ll ACTUALLY start talking about them.
Because you know what it’s like, especially at the beginning of a new year. We all say we’re going to do more of something or less of something or talk about something more and it never happens. But perhaps this post might start a few conversations down in the comments about some of these topics.
So, let’s have it. Here are 5 things I think we need to start talking about more this year:
Okay yeah, I’m jumping right in with the big one. One of the most profound, eye-opening and educational books I read last year was We All Know How This Ends. It wasn’t a light read, it wasn’t an easy read but was it a necessary read? Absolutely. I’m going to go on a bit here because I really had such a positive experience reading this book.
Posting about this book on my Instagram stories opened up the conversation about death between me and a friend of a friend who I met last year. She told me she had experienced a bit of it recently but was terrified of it and felt like she needed some help processing it. So I sent her my copy of this book.
If this book can help her in any small way then I’ll be absolutely thrilled. Death is NOT a taboo topic – and this is coming from someone who couldn’t even think about it without having a panic attack 6 months ago. This book covers everything from end of life care to funerals.
In the UK in particular, death is an incredibly hush-hush topic. We hide our dead away. We’re scared to say the wrong thing. We sugar coat things and stick to rigid funeral rituals. Learning about the funeral industry was fascinating and reading this book even got me thinking about what I would want at my funeral – but not in a sad or morbid way. In a genuine curiosity for how I want my end to be.
Death is never not going to be difficult. But it CAN be more normalised. If you’re interested in opening up the conversation about death in your life, either with family, friends or just with yourself, I’d HIGHLY recommend picking up this book. It’s a fantastic place to start.
Sex and sex education
We all knew this was going to be on here didn’t we? This is a tricky one because some people genuinely aren’t comfortable talking about sex and for whatever reason, we need to respect that. Perhaps it’s through religious beliefs or past trauma. We can’t and shouldn’t FORCE anyone to talk about it.
But if there’s an important topic to discuss, then gently opening the avenue for discussion is a good place to start. You might find people join in who you’d never expect.
But in regards to sex education, boy oh boy, not only does this need to be spoken about more but it also needs to be improved. Sex education was dire when I was at school – and I went to an all girls school! There’s no excuse for it to be so bad now. Luckily, there’s wonderful sex educators online like Hannah Witton.
Sex education needs to cover a wide range of topics, from safe sex, consent, gender identity, STD’s and much much more. Worried you might have an STD? Try searching for STD testing near me to find a clinic near you. STD’s are something that everyone shies away from talking about but they’re such a common part of life and can be managed effectively, if you’re informed about them!
- 5 Easy Tips To Improve Your Sex Life
- How To Boost Your Sexual Wellness & Feel Empowered
- Erotica Subscription Service: Erotic Literature Straight To Your Inbox
Women’s physical health & men’s mental health
This obviously isn’t to say that women’s mental health and men’s physical health aren’t important too. But when it comes to health, I think it’s safe to say there’s a STARK difference between the experiences that men and women have in those two areas of health.
According to the Samaritans data, in England men aged 45-9 have the highest suicide rate. And male suicide rate for 2020 was 15.3 per 100,000 compared to 4.9 per 100,000 for women. Even if you look across to the statistics for Wales and Scotland, the statistics are still just as shocking.
That is a HUGE and terrifying difference. Why aren’t men getting the support they need for their mental health?
And when it comes to women’s physical health, I’m sure you’ve all heard a story or two about a woman who just wasn’t listened to when they went to the doctor with physical symptoms. Whether it’s done consciously or subconsciously, gaslighting in women’s health problems is a real big freaking problem. The more women who can speak up about this, the better.
All areas of health are important, whatever gender you are or however you identify. But these two aspects in particular need to be urgently addressed and spoken about a lot more.
We’re all done with stress now, aren’t we? After the last two years, a pandemic, an NHS crisis, an incompetent government and more, it’s not a surprise that so many of us are prioritizing our well-being to ensure that we’re managing our stress levels.
I feel like in the industry of blogging, content creation, entrepreneurship and online business owning, a lot of us are just… done. We’re done with the hustle. We’re done with the overworking. We’re done not prioritizing our mental well-being.
At least I certainly am. A few years ago, pre-pandemic, I would have been working tirelessly for my blog and my job but now, I very much ensure that my stress level is the utmost priority and I’d never put my blog before my mental health again.
I think this needs to be addressed more because stress just ISN’T the one and working yourself stupid isn’t cool either.
I certainly have a lot more things in mind that I think should be spoken about more this year but I fear this post would be more like a short story if I went on for much longer! I would love to hear what you think about these above topics. Start a conversation. Don’t be shy but be respectful.
What do you think should be spoken about more this year? What do you think of the above topics?
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I’d like to write a blog response to death, if I may. I’ll link to this post and credit you for the idea, even though I haven’t done the reading.
Please do, I’d love to read it.
Should post next Friday
I loved this – some of these topics indeed need a lot more talking about, especially since all the discussion started last year. Mental health and education on that topic of every kind is my kind of jam! Also, sex education sounds like something a lot of people could benefit from! And when it comes to death… I am a little more resisting on this because I am extremely sensitive and I hate talking about stuff like this. On the other hand, without the talk there is no way I can improve on this.
You’re absolutely right. It’s no wonder so many people are sensitive and reluctant to talk about it, when we’ve had no education on it!
I understand the need to discuss this topic. I just hate talking about it, it scares me and makes me feel anxious. But you have made some really important points. Thank you for sharing.
I think it’s all about how you approach the topic, whatever it is. If you do it kindly and sensitively with the right information and at your own pace, then you’re doing great!
I could not agree with you more on these! Death especially is such a hard one because you’re right – everyone’s so scared to say the wrong thing that it can feel like nobody talks at all. And that’s really isolating. That book you recommended sounds fantastic – I’ll definitely be having a look x
mia // https://miasdiyprojects.com/
Thank you! Totally agree it’s a difficult one but people wouldn’t be so scared to say things if we had more education on it.
Yes to all of these!! I feel it’s way more healthier to discuss death at a young age. It doesn’t always have to be morbid. I remember when my first grandparent died and I was a late teenager, it was so strange and nobody was talking about what happened. We, the kids, were all put into a room out of the way. Whereas, when my dad died, my nephew was 6 and he was in the hospice with us and there when he died. We talked about it and he had a good understanding about what happened to his grandad and about death and I think it was really important.
Stress is something I never talked about until I had a breakdown due to stress in 2020. And now I talk about it with everyone in work all the time and make them aware of the indicators and what can happen. Great post!
That’s great to hear your vastly different experienced with death with different family members x
Yes I totally agree. These are all such very important subjects to talk more about for sure!
They sure are x
Great point about not talking about men’s mental health enough. I think a lot of men just don’t want to feel judged and depression and anxiety can be looked at as a “woman’s issue” – definitely not the case and I’m glad more people are opening up about it lately!
Definitely not the case. And it’s so sad that men end up in such an awful position because of this stigma.
Another topic is the schedule and in which we invest our time, if we really enjoy our life or we just follow a routine automatically without thinking beyond that.
Death is a difficult thing to process for sure, even when you don’t know them personally. I work in the geriatric department and sadly, several of the people who I cared for passed away. It’s shocking to find their names in the obituary when I worked with them a day ago, a week ago, 2 weeks ago etc. 😭
The ones that hit me hard were the deaths that either occurred on my shift (but not my patient) or a few hours after my shift only to find out the next day that they didn’t make it through the night ☹️
I can imagine that’s difficult to process and work around. Although I suppose with a job in that sort of department, it’s a given.
I LOVE that you are blogging about these topics Jenny, they are so important and should definitely be discussed far more than they are. I wish that sex & period education was talked about in much more depth. I think it would benefit everyone
Thank you. I totally agree x
In my family, death isn’t a taboo because I lost my grandma & both of my great-parents when I was young. Also, my other great-grandmother died when my mother was pregnant with me so my middle name is her name. I feel like that helped open up the conversation that death is a natural part of life & it’s okay to talk about it.
Sex education definitely needs to be improved in schools! When I was in high school in Texas, it was abstinence-only education & we were taught that condoms aren’t effective…my same school also had a daycare for the students on campus…
I also completely agree that men’s mental health is often overlooked & I feel like it comes from the stigma that you aren’t a real man if you’re depressed for example.
It’s terrible that so many women can’t get the help they need because doctors think they’re faking it or overexaggerating. Also related I think it’s 100% wrong that women aren’t allowed to get their tubes tied without permision from their husband even if it’s for health reasons!
I lost most of my grand-parents young as well, yet it’s definitely not openly spoken about in my family still, unless something happens in which we’re forced to talk about it. Like when my last surviving Granddad was terminally ill in 2019. It’s great that your family have adopted a different approach!
I’m sorry to hear about your grandparents. I do think the US may be more open to talking about death. When I was in university, I took a summer class about psychology across the whole lifespan & at the end, we had to write a will & decide if we wanted a funeral, be cremated, etc.
Yes I agree so much with this post, especially on sex education and women’s physical health. In 2021 I experienced a few things relating to these issues and felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about them due to the nature of the topics so I would love this to change.
I’m so sorry to hear that you felt you couldn’t be open and talk to people about these issues. I hope that changes soon!
These are important topics and I think the reason people don’t like to talk about them is that they are heavy topic and not all people can manage dealing with hard stuff. Especially when we have somekind of unwritten rule that we should be happy all the time. Which is so wrong. Older people are sometimes admonish younger for not understanding death and it’s part in life – but how could they, if no one really talks about and all the info comes from video games or movies?
It’s so wrong and toxic, this forced positivity all the time. It doesn’t help anyone! I totally agree, young people can’t just “get it” without exploring the subject. Yet if there’s no-one there to prompt them, how are they ever going to do it?
I think all of these topics should be something we all get much more comfortable with. When things become so hush-hush that’s when misinformation and misconceptions spread so easily because people are reluctant to check that what they’ve been told or heard is actually accurate. Thanks for sharing this!
I agree, the hush-hush nature of some of these things does much more harm than good.
I’m really glad that you wrote this blog post, because you’re damn right – these topics absolutely need to be talked about more often. We need to be real with each other, more open and vulnerable, and willing to have conversations with our loved ones and guidance counselors who can help us through the more challenging things. And these don’t all need to be challenging either (or taboo). They can just be everyday topics if we work towards that as much as possible. I hope to see that become the case over time. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.
Thank you my love. Glad you agree. I think even challenging topics can still be every day things if people are given the right information, education and guidance for talking about them. It’s life, all of it, why does it need to be taboo?
Yes to all of these! I’m glad you mentioned sex / sex education. Mine was also dire in school. Death is an important subject matter to talk about too, but again some people can be quite uncomfortable doing so and that needs respecting.
Oh same, I don’t remember anything about sex ed in my school, it’s pretty shameful!
Big YES to all of these, especially death. It’s not talked about enough, nor is the aftermath of mixed emotions. It’s definitly something I want to normalise more as we go into 2022.
I agree. Grief isn’t spoken about enough and like you said, the complicated emotions that can sometime arise.
Perhaps this is something we could collaborate on in the coming year?
Death can be a tough conversation amongst loved ones and relatives, but it’s definitely a discussion that needs to be had before the time comes, a great post and I do wish these other topics you have mentioned are talked about more amongst us all! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
I agree. The end of life is the last place people need to be in order to talk about their death and funerals. It definitely needs to be before then!
These are all so important! Death terrifies me and I always shy away from any discussions about it with jokes or just not speaking about it at all, but it’s an unfortunate part of life and I’m glad you’ve brought it up here. Sex ed is essential- and I adore Hannah Witton. Thank you for sharing x
I can totally relate to that. I used to not even be able to think about it without having a panic attack. Perhaps consider reading that book I mentioned!
I will have to, thanks Jenny x
YES to all of this!! Death as obviously morbid as it is, is such an important topic to be honest about and something we should all be sharing more about to normalise. It wasn’t until I started working in end of life care that I became unafraid to explore this subject. I think we all need to have more honest, open discussions about when we feel capable and safe to do so, because death isn’t as scary as it may seem sometimes.
Thank you for sharing Jenny.
Kate | kindlyk.co.uk
Oh wow, yes I can imagine that gave you a very different view of the subject. I’d love to read something from you about it. Perhaps things you’ve learned about death from working in EoL care. If that’s something you felt able to do, of course!
Thank you for writing this post. I personally love it!!
It’s important we talk about stress. It can creep up on you and I honestly believe the only way to really keep it on check is regular breaks and make time for self care. It’s easy to get caught up in the to-do list. Late nights and early mornings, but I have to remind myself to stop.
Thank you. I agree. My boyfriend is going through a stressful time right now and he’s not coping very well with it because I think it’s always been a bit taboo.
Completely agree, sex education was woeful when I was at school, I had a catholic education so it was practically drummed into me that if you even looked at penis you’d get pregnant – absolutely nothing about healthy relationships or what controlling behaviour looks like and it all goes hand in hand.
Also women’s physical health just isn’t taken seriously unless you can confidently advocate for yourself which is wrong. In my experience we aren’t comfortable about talking about it, which would probably help a lot of anxiety around health (definitely had this before).
Great topics picked here, hopefully people will start talking more x
Oh crikey hahaha! That doesn’t help anyone, does it? I agree. It’s amazing that some people can so strongly advocate for themselves but for others that doesn’t come easily and those are the ones suffering.
Death can be a really tough conversation but I defiantly think it’s something important to talk about. You’ve shared some great talking topics which I’ll defiantly be having more with my family & friends. Let 2022 be the year we talk! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely Xo
Elle – ellegracedeveson.com
I agree. Thank you lovely 🙂
Great subjects to discuss here, which are you most passionate about? I’m currently doing a ‘talking too’ series on my Instagram and would love you to join me on a live one Sunday, talking about any of this x
Oh wow, that’d be fab! I’ll have to have a think about which one I’d be most equipped to talk about. If you wanna message me on IG so we can discuss further that’d be fab!