So you’re back in the dating game. It’s exciting, but you want to make sure your needs are met and you don’t want to be pressured into doing something sexual that you may feel is repulsive, scary, dangerous or just yucky. How do you begin negotiating with someone who may find what you like to do repulsive, scary, dangerous or yucky? People have such a difficult time discussing sex with a new partner. I’m here to help!
In countries with the lowest levels of unplanned pregnancy and STI rates, everybody knows the rules. Since elementary school the same messages about safer sex are given by parents, religious organizations, the media, and schools. Again and again. Year after year. No negotiating. No unprotected sex. Testing before a new partner. That’s it!
In this country people make up their own rules. How do you make your rules clear to a new partner and how do you know their rules? I have a solution that would make the conversation go so much easier or even eliminate it altogether if only everybody would do it. I call it “Rules for SEX.” Think of what a joy it would be to just whip out your “rules” and say, “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” Exchange lists, take out your highlighters and begin. Here are a few suggested steps:
Step one: THINK
What must a potential partner absolutely agree to, what would you absolutely refuse to do under any circumstances, and what could you negotiate?
Step two: WRITE
Make a list of rules. You may want to put them into the three categories: Definitely, Maybe, Never. You list could include such things as:
I will not have sex with someone until we are both tested for STIs.
I will only have sex with someone who is not in a relationship with someone else.
I will only have sex with someone who likes dogs or kids or cats or my mother.
I definitely want to/don’t want to have kids.
I will only have sex with someone who has herpes if they are on medication.
I won’t have sex for the first time while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, Barry White, or moonlight.
My partner must be willing to do …
My partner must never ask me to do …
I will never have sex without protection even if we’ve been together for a long time and I completely trust them.
Decorate your rules, use pictures, have them reflect who you really are or who you want to be. By taking the time to write your rules, you can clarify what you want from a partner and are less likely to slip into behaviors you want to avoid.
Step three: SHARE
Have them write their rules then exchange, negotiate, have a good laugh – or run for the door.