Sex and the art of TMI

“Whoa, way too much information!” “Ew gross, man!” “If you say one more word, I’m going to vom all over you.” If you’ve ever said these things, you’ve probably been a victim of TMI.

What is TMI, you ask? Simply put, it means “too much information,” but there are many forms in which this blasphemous communication can personify itself. (Note: Discussions below mainly pertain to males. Females will be covered at the end. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

The blatant TMI

This is a conversation that will make even babies blush — babies who don’t understand English. A blatant TMI conversation will include lots of vulgar terms, with hand motions and suggestive facial expressions to boot. The offender is usually someone sleazy, like the Fonz without any class. We’ll call him “Fo.” Either Fo’s mother was a five-cent prostitute who talked in appendages, or Fo suffers from a severe lack of self-esteem and respect. Either way, you don’t want to be caught in a conversation with Fo. Best escape response: “That’s gross, which is why your sister liked it last night.”

The artistic TMI

Unless you’ve passed at least a 100-level English course, you won’t understand what this sex poet is talking about. But if you have, you’ll wish you hadn’t. The sex poet can be the dirtiest of all the TMIers while hiding behind a veil of obscurity. I’ll give you a few hints. When they talk about their “godly life-catapult,” they aren’t talking about a trebuchet. When they talk about “screaming in euphony so the whole world can feel the pulsing glory,” they didn’t just get an A in music class. Best escape response: “Wow, you’re almost as good as John Mayer!”

The awkward/CS TMI

This is the person that you do not want to hear sexual talk from. This is the person who starts a sentence with “Last night I...” only to send people running. You don’t know whether to feel creeped out or sorry for them, but what you do know is that you feel sick. If you stick around, be prepared for allusions to strange movies from the ’60s and computer components. Best escape response: “Wait, I heard that you agreed with Sony’s DRM rootkit.”

The couple TMI

“The Lovers” from SNL. STFU OMFG.

The old guy TMI

“Old people don’t have sex... old people don’t have sex...” No matter how fervently you cover your ears and repeat this to yourself, there will be that old guy who reminds you what really happens. I had several old substitute teachers in high school who would just love to remind us kids that old people are still rowdy in the sack. There is no escape response, because you have to respect your elders, but after you’re done shuddering, it’s fun to laugh about.

The “nice to meet you” TMI

I know, it sounds outrageous. Someone introducing themselves with an over-the-top sexual story? Trust me, it has happened. It is not a good idea to meet someone new by telling them you have trouble getting it up with your girlfriend. Not only will they probably call the police, they won’t be too keen on talking to you again, either. If you’re going to talk sex with someone, make sure it’s at least someone whose name you know. Best escape response: “Let me try!” (Please...don’t actually say that.)

The “TMI to impress” TMI

The most common, and the most irritating, of all TMIs. This one is not even funny to look back on. Many guys are guilty of this, and it’s disgusting. He shares grotesque stories of him and his hot girlfriend just because he thinks he’s more of a man than you. Exaggeration is his forte. Just find peace in the fact that he will probably die lonely, and has very low self-esteem. Do not try to compete with his stories: you will only become more like him. Best escape response: “I don’t care.”

In the end, committing an act of TMI is kind of like smoking — it’s forcing other people to indulge in something they’d really rather not, and it’s just plain rude. It’s good to assume that if someone asks, they want to know, and if they don’t, they don’t. But even when someone wants to know, they don’t want details. Practice safe-sex talk — use the base system: first base is making out, second base is groping and basic hand stuff, third base is oral sex, and a home run is sex. Using “grand slam” is quickly approaching that line you shouldn’t cross, so use it with caution.

Now a note on girls and TMI. Being a guy, I have only my experience to go on; I have no idea what they’re really thinking. Girls are very two-faced when it comes to TMI. They don’t appreciate when their boyfriends tell all their friends about their private sex lives. Winnie sure didn’t appreciate it when Kevin let the guys in the locker room think they had sex. It’s completely understandable. But then when that same girl tells her girlfriends things at a random sleep-over party even when the guy had never said anything, or when that same girl tells a friend of hers things about the relationship that would make the guy blush if he ever heard... that’s just ridiculous! Girls need to learn that the other point of not sharing too much information is because it’s private, and personal, and doesn’t need to be discussed with anyone outside the relationship. And you especially don’t need to talk about that one time I took my shirt off with people that you don’t even know, because maybe I’m uncomfortable with my shirt off and maybe that was just between you and me!

Talking about sex with someone you’re very comfortable with can be healthy. Talking about relationships in which you’re not comfortable to someone else is more than okay, because you should tell someone. But sharing sexual details with plain old friends is not acceptable. Do the world a favor and stop publicly exposing yourself.