So, you meet someone you think you want to have sex with and you are trying to be a responsible adult when it comes to sex. You’ve heard all the scary talk about HIV, chlamydia, herpes, HPV, etc., and you are definitely not ready to bring a baby into your life. How do you bring up the topic with your potential new partner?
Well, the best time is not when the hormones are peaking, bodies are sweating, hearts are pumping and sex is about to happen. The blood flow is not pulsing in an upward direction towards your brain, so the conversation might not be most effective at this time. Pick a time when you are fully clothed but in a private place. Starbucks is great for a first date, but probably not the best place to do some sexual negotiating.
There has hopefully been some indication that this person is interested in you as more than a friend. A longing look, a kiss or grope before you say good night, a bit of steamy sexting are always good indications that someone is looking to take it to a physical level. If you read the signals wrong and start a conversation about safer sex with someone not interested in you that way, this could be one of the most embarrassing moments of your life. But, better to be embarrassed now than having to explain to all future partners about these little bumps, periodic blisters or need for daily meds.
First, you need to be clear in your own mind: what do you want from your partner? Always use a barrier like a male or female condom? Does your definition of sex include oral and anal sex as well? (Remember health class? Sex includes oral, anal and vaginal intercourse.) A full battery of testing for sexually transmitted infections before you go any further? And that just covers infections. What if the possibility of pregnancy is in the picture? Is this someone you would want to parent with? What if a pregnancy should occur? Do you agree on what the outcome should be: parenting, adoption, abortion?
So you’ve figured out your requirements for sex. You’ve got your list and checked it twice. What do you say? How do you start the conversation? You need to be yourself. Does humor work for you? Do you sort of slide into a topic or just blurt things out? No matter how you start the conversation, it will most likely feel awkward, unless you’ve done it before. Practice may not make perfect, but it can help. A few ideas:
“I’m really enjoying our time together.”
“I feel like we’re getting closer and things are heating up.”
“I think we need to talk before we go any farther.”
“I’m really into you, but before you get into me we need to talk.”
(If these sound totally lame, you come up with something better!)
How your potential partner reacts should tell you a lot about whether or not you want things to progress to a physical level. Do they appear angry, shocked, offended, or clueless as to what you are talking about? If so, you may want to slow down and reconsider your next move. Hopefully, they will be relieved that you were brave enough to start the conversation and were just trying to figure out how they could bring up the topic.
You are a responsible adult now, so act like one. Make a date to go get tested together. Do some research on ways to make safer sex more fun.
(Hmm – sounds like a good idea for another blog!)