Sexuality and U
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Sexual Health

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Talking to your partner about sex

These days communication is more important than ever. With the increased spread of dangerous sexually transmitted infections, talking about sex before you have sex could literally save your life. While the cold mechanics of safer sex may seem a bit unromantic, some of the alternatives - embarrassing trips to the clinic, unsightly diseases or even death - aren’t exactly sexy either. In the end, whether you practice safer sex is your decision. But whatever your choice, it’s a good idea to understand the benefits and risks associated with your decision.

Taking Precautions

Worrying about pregnancy or disease is one of the biggest desire killers, so let your partner know that taking precautions will only help you get into it more…which will almost certainly make it better for them too. This conversation may be a little awkward, but most people will understand that you’re only looking out for your health and theirs. Also, if you’re sure you want to have sex with someone, you may want to use this conversation to initiate sex. Just be firm and prepared, and make sure that you leave yourself an opening to delay or call of sex if your partner is unwilling to meet your requests. If you do decide to practice safer sex, you may want to bring up the subject with your partner before actually having sex. Usually, the best time to have this talk is before you both get worked up.

You may want to say something like: “You know that at some point we may become intimate.” “This is what I expect from someone who loves and cares about me.” “I want you to be honest about your sexual history - I will be honest about mine.” “I want you to wear a condom when we make love.”

Communication

There are still many people who say, “I couldn’t possibly talk like that with my partner!” And in some cases, this may be true. If that’s the case, maybe it’s a good idea to take a look at your relationship and how close you really are. Sex definitely isn’t everything in a relationship, but “bad” sex (if there is such a thing) can sometimes be a symptom of other problems. Think about it - in the end, it’s your pleasure that’s on the line.

A good sexual relationship takes work and communication. If you pretend that everything feels good, your partner will take the wrong cues, and things will never get better! And if you pretend for too long, your partner is going to feel pretty lousy when you finally do bring things up. Your partner may feel upset that sex has not been making you feel good, and hurt that you didn’t feel comfortable bringing things up.

Bad communication is one of the biggest problems for every couple. You have to tell your partner what you like and don’t like, and ask them what they like. Whatever you do, don’t fake liking something (a certain sexual position, for example) just because you’re afraid of hurting your partner’s ego - if you fake it, they’ll just keep on doing it, and you’ll just keep on not liking it. Or maybe you’re even doing something that neither of you likes, because you both think the other one likes it. Tell your partner what you like (or show them), be honest, and, with practice and time, you’ll both come to know each other’s bodies like your own. No doubt this conversation might be a little embarrassing at first, but if you and your partner don’t discuss what you do and don’t like, you’re never going to reach your full sexual potential. If you want, you can even have some fun with it, and turn this learning process into a bit of a game.

Sex can be great, but it’s not perfect

But the main message is this: Sex can be great, but it’s not perfect, and it’s something you definitely have to work at. Over the course of your life you’re going to have good sex and not-so-good sex, every time is not going to be the best time, and it’s unfair to expect anyone (including yourself) to be the perfect lover every time. If you expect this much of sex or of your partner, you’re just setting yourself up to be let down. It’s just not realistic and it’s just not how life works.

When talking to your partner:

• make sure to express your needs from a personal perspective - this will help put your partner at ease
• be clear, honest and open about your desires, your likes and dislikes
• pay attention to your partner’s responses, and take your partner’s feelings into consideration
• If you agree to have safe sex, don’t get so caught up in passion that you forget about it later.

Try openers like, “that feels nice…let’s try this too,” or “that hurts a bit…try this”. You can always show your partner what you like by guiding them with your hands. Whatever you do, don’t ever tell them they’re doing things “wrong” or get to the point where you’re just shouting out orders and instructions. Just let them know what you like and don’t like and suggest things you want to try. It will probably do a lot for them too - it’s always a big turn-on to know your partners really enjoying it! And don’t forget to find out what they like and don’t like too.