CONSENT IS SEXY and communication is the key to good sex.
One of the main reasons that sex remains taboo in our culture is that we are not supposed to talk about it. Although sex is EVERYWHERE, discussing sex openly and honestly is still rare. In some situations, that makes sense. For example, sex is usually an inappropriate topic for the family Thanksgiving dinner table or a meeting in the office. However, the taboo against talking about sex sticks in situations where open conversations are not only appropriate, but also necessary. People who are having sex need to be able to talk about it with their partners. But somehow, many of us are more comfortable sleeping with someone than talking to the person that we are sleeping with about sex! This is nobody’s fault- it is engrained in our sex obsessed/ sex-negative culture, leaving many people horny and confused. To move ourselves towards more healthy and self-actualized sex we need to practice communication and consent.
Good communication is about good sex. Communicating is hot! We need a sexual revolution that makes practicing communication as ubiquitous as using a condom. Condom use was promoted to young, sexually active people in response to the AIDS epidemic in the 90’s. Today, communication needs to be promoted among young, sexually active people in response to the epidemic of rape, assault and sexual violence. Just like pausing to put on a condom prevents STDs, pausing to check in with your partner prevents unwanted sexual experiences.
How do you know how your partner or partners feel? How do you know if they want to have sex with you? Or if they want you to take off their clothes? Or use protection? Or have oral sex? How do you know what their boundaries are? How do you know what their desires and interests are?
YOU ASK THEM!!!
It is a myth that good sex automatically happens without talking- that through intuition you should know the ins and outs of everyone with whom you hit the hay. That’s silly. Every person that you sleep with will be radically different, and you have no way of knowing what turns them on and what turns them off. Not only do people’s preferences differ; our anatomy varies. You may find each sexual partner you encounter orgasms in a completely unique way. Some people need pressure, some people need friction and some people need speed. Human sexuality is infinitely complicated. That’s part of what makes sex so fun and exciting! And while you do learn about people's bodies by being physical, a simple conversation about preferences can get everyone closer to the kind of sex they want more quickly.
What to talk about?
Your comfort level with each and every sexual exchange is going to be different, so talk about boundaries early and often to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Never make assumptions. Your partner might be comfortable having oral sex, but not comfortable having vaginal sex. You might be comfortable having sex on Tuesday, but won't feel like it on Wednesday.
Protection and STD's:
Communicate with your partner(s) about standards for using protection and then follow those standards. You might be accustomed to using condoms for vaginal or anal sex, without realizing that some people also use protection for oral sex. Your partner might be comfortable not using condoms with you, but might expect you to use condoms with your other sexual partners. Decide what everyone is comfortable with and set clear guidelines. After you have had a conversation about safe sex, it is easier to follow your safe sex practices when you're all hot and bothered.
Many of us have had the experience where the sex that we're having is almost the sex that we really want- but instead of asking for what we want, we just lie there having sex that’s not quite it. We quietly hope that the nipple sucking will migrate South to our clitoris or that the hand job will get a mouth around it. And we are too shy to just say, “Is it OK if I sit on your face?” .Chances are you don't know everything that your partner wants and they don't know everything that you want. You can minimize this gap between what you want and what you get by asking for it! And ask your partners what their preferences are! What types of sex do they like? Do they like penetration, oral sex, dildo sex, anal sex, hand jobs? What feels good? The exciting thing about this conversation is that it’s ongoing. Our sexual interests change and peak as we grow and develop. Your partner might get exciting ideas that will spice up your sex life. And if you have good communication, then you two (or you three or you four) can explore each other's bodies in infinitely expanding, hot, great, consensual ways.