8 Tips on How to Sex Talk with your Partner ✔
How to Talk About Sex
Many people feel uncomfortable talking about sex. It can be hard to ask for what you want, and it can be hard to clarify the basic concepts—especially when you're explaining them to a child. Start by initiating a dialogue, even if you aren't sure exactly what you want to say. You may find that it gets easier to talk about sex once you're past the initial awkwardness!
Talking with a New Partner
Be frank.Lay out your thoughts as plainly as possible. Avoid euphemisms, and try to work past your initial discomfort. If you aren't comfortable referring to "sex," try using a similar but "softer" phrase. Instead of saying that you are "having sex," say that you are "making love," or "being intimate," or "getting down." Each of these phrases has its own set of connotations.
- Remember that sex is perfectly natural. One might argue that, indeed, nothing is more natural. It is how you came into being.
Set a clear precedent.If you aren't comfortable doing something, then don't do it. If you let something slide even once, then it will be harder to stop it from happening in the future. Be firm about your expectations, and don't let anyone take advantage of you.
Ask about STI (sexually-transmitted infection) testing.Before you become intimate with a person, initiate a casual conversation about their sexual health and their testing history. Don't make a big deal about it—just ask if they've been tested recently. Remember that you have the right to look after your own sexual health. You deserve to know if you're about to have sex with someone who might be carrying an infection.
- Use protection. It never hurts to use a condom, even if a partner has assured you that he or she is STI-free.
- If you have an STI, be upfront about it. It can plague your partner for years, and it can have serious health implications.
Talking with an Established Partner
Be communicative.Ask for what you want. Be vocal about what you like, and don't be afraid to speak up when something doesn't work for you. If you aren't clear about your needs, then your partner won't know how to meet those needs.
- Be as frank and open as possible. Cultivate a relationship that is build around clear communication. The more you talk about this, the easier it will be!
- If you want more sex, don't be afraid to say so, but don't demand it. Explain why you don't feel that you're getting enough, and find a solution that the two of you can agree upon.
Stay on the same page.Make sure that you and your partner have a mutual understanding about the rules and expectations of the relationship. A relationship is a mutual understanding, and it is your responsibility to maintain that understanding. Define the sort of relationship that you want, and make the relationship itself an act of discussing that balance.
- Talk about when and where it's okay to have sex.
- Preferences to change over time, which is fine, but you need to keep your partner up-to-date.
- Decide whether you are exclusive. If not, make sure that you agree about who each of you can and cannot have sex with. Be clear and be truthful. If you leave this part murky, then you could damage your relationship and seriously hurt someone.
Make it a dialogue.Each of you should feel equally empowered to negotiate the terms of the conversation. Someone will probably need to initiate the conversation, and that person may well be you—but you can still create space for your partner to speak his or her mind. Listen. Be patient.
- Avoid accusatory "you" statements like, "You never want to have sex anymore!"
- Instead, focus on the way that things make you feel, or try to remain objective. Say, "I feel that our sex drives have been unbalanced lately," or "I want to open up a dialogue about the way that our sex life has been lately."
- Again: a relationship is a mutual understanding. A healthy sex life is built upon communication. Don't let one person make all of the moves!
Talk about sex when you're not having sex.This can be a great way to get comfortable discussing intimacy with your partner. Bring it up when you both have free time to talk. Check in to see that you're on the same page, and that the current arrangement is working for both of you. Be unabashed and matter-of-fact about this sort of communication. If you don't act like it's weird, then it won't be weird.
Talking to Your Kids
Know when it's time to talk to your child about sex.The "right time" means something different for every kid and every parent. As a general rule of thumb, consider that your child should probably know how to practice safe, consensual sex by the time that he or she winds up in a sexual situation. If your child is approaching his or her teen years, then hormones are coming, and the time is nigh.
- In this digital age, more children are learning about sex from the Internet. If your child gets curious, then they may do a lot of exploratory searching. Use your knowledge to act as a guiding figure. Your child may know more than you think.
- Many schools incorporate some form of sexual education into their curriculum. Try using this as a reason to engage with your kids about the realities of sex. Set yourself up as a resource, and offer to answer any questions that your children might have.
Bring it up gently.Sex can be an embarrassing topic for adults to discuss—let alone children or teenagers! If the topic comes up naturally, then take the opportunity to discuss it. Otherwise: plan out what you are going to say, and try to build upon what your child already knows. Keep an open mind.
- Be respectful of boundaries. If your son or daughter doesn't want to talk about the "birds and the bees," then don't force the conversation.
Use outside resources.There are various books, websites, and other resources available that make it easier for kids and teenagers to learn about healthy sex. If your child is younger than 10-12, consider going through these resources one-on-one. If you are dealing with a teenager, then you can likely just pass along the information and let your teen explore on his/her own time.
- What Makes A Babyby Cory Silverberg is a children's book for parents looking to explain to young children how babies are conceived and born.
- The website BishUK provides a range of topics for parents and teens. The site covers not only the physical aspects of sex, but its emotional impact.
- MTV, as an offshoot of their Teen Mom series, runs the website [mysexlife.org mysexlife.org]. The site helps teenagers understand sex and sexuality, and it can help teach young adults how to make safe decisions regarding their bodies.
- Speakeasy, a Family Planning Association, features online guides to help parents talk to kids about sex and reproduction. There are guides available for a variety of ages.
- Consider talking to your friends about sex. If you have any questions, concerns, or considerations, find a friend who is more experienced in sexual matters.
Sources and Citations
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