I thought I’d post something I started on when I first thought about the need for sex writing and honest information.  It’s been sitting in a little notebook in my desk for some time, and while it’s hardly everything, it’s a good starting point.  Consider this the sex talk your parents never gave you:

Prelude: Ok, so the likelihood is, if you’re reading this “book,” you’ve got someone in mind and you’re wondering if you’re ready for an intimate relationship. Well, more often than not, the fact that you’ve picked this up means that you’re not.  …But maybe you are.  Let’s find out.

Ch. 1- Mental Mindset

Sex is more than just an act- it’s a state of mind.  A lot of people who have negative emotional experiences when it comes to sex were not mentally prepared for the experience.  So before you even bring up the possibility of sex to your partner, you need to make sure you know what it means for you.

Sex is about 4 things- trust, communication, self-image, and pleasure.  The easiest thing to start with is self-image.

SELF-IMAGE: Put simply, sex means being completely naked (shocker, right?)- both physically and emotionally- with your partner.  If you aren’t comfortable with how your body looks, you’ll be inhibited mentally and you won’t enjoy sex as much.  So how can you work on this?

  • After a shower, look yourself over in the mirror- not at individual parts, but at your figure as a whole.  Make a practice of finding your best assets and mentally focusing on them while letting any perceived shortcomings fall to the wayside.
  • Pay attention to when you feel the best about your body.  Maybe it’s after a workout or when you first wake up in the morning.  Replicate those experiences as often as possible and then try to recreate those feelings during activities that make you feel bad about your image (like eating ice cream or watching TV).
  • Do not rely on your partner to validate your beauty- that fosters dependence, which is terrible for self-esteem and leads to messy break-ups.

As for emotional self-image, it’s important to understand what you are looking for in a relationship and how your personality will affect it.  Is this a fling?  Are you a person who gets easily attached emotionally?  Do you need a lot of physical interaction to make a relationship work?  Understanding what you want will make communicating and relating to your partner much easier.  But how do you learn what your specific needs are?

  • Keep a journal where you record daydreams.  Mention not only the people and the situation of the dream, but also what emotions you were feeling at the time.  Don’t censor yourself.
  • Pay attention to what attracts you to your partner- is it physical?  Emotional?  Do you share interests or communicate on a similar intellectual level?

COMMUNICATION: Once you understand what you personally want from a sexual interaction, you need to talk to your partner about what they want.  If they haven’t thought about it, I recommend that you wait on sex until they have reached the state of mental preparedness that you have.  The most important thing is that both people in a sexual relationship are on the same page.

If you are both at this point, take some serious time to discuss the details of sex.  While movies may romanticize sex as spur-of-the-moment, if you don’t talk with your partner beforehand, major consequences (physical and emotional) can ensue.

So what’s important to talk about?

  • Protection- the most important issue to be addressed is birth control.  If neither of you is comfortable enough to buy a condom or get a prescription for the pill, you should NOT be having sex.
  • General etiquette and preferences- lights on or off?  Any off-limits areas?  Special considerations for pain (especially if one or both of you are virgins or nervous- which often go hand in hand)?  Need for lubrication?  If you are planning on oral, will s/he swallow or should s/he pull out beforehand?
  • STDs.  Awkward to bring up, but it’s important to make sure your partner is clean.
  • Kinks/fetishes- this can be potentially saved for a second go-around (as first times are often better for straight, down-to-basics, get-comfortable-with-each-other sex).  But eventually, you and your partner should discuss what would be optimally pleasurable for both of you.  Do you want to introduce toys?  Role-playing?  Bondage? (Check out our guest blogger’s article on kink for more on that subject!)  Do NOT bring these into the bedroom unless both you and your partner have agreed on them.  Springing fetishes on a partner without warning can be emotionally damaging and unfulfilling for both people.

TRUST: The reason many people suggest waiting on sex in a relationship is to make sure the couple has built up sufficient trust in each other.  Sex can come with some insecurity, so if you do not trust your partner implicitly, you may regret sex afterwards.

Emotional trust is primary in terms of the general relationship as well.  Warning signs of lack of trust include:

  • Fear of inadequacy romantically/intellectually/physically
  • Fear of rejection/being dumped
  • Jealousy
  • Worries about partner lying/cheating/withholding information

If you have any of these problems, put off your plans for sex until you’ve addressed them.  Never let fears of a relationship ending pressure you into having sex.

Things to remember:

  • A relationship should not be contingent on sexual performance- if it is, do NOT have sex.
  • Sex is not a one-shot deal.  It is a learning experience which gets better with each subsequent encounter.
  • Even “bad sex” can still be a good experience if the couple is open and honest about their needs and wants and achieves a sense of closeness from it.

Aftermath:

Ok, so now that you’ve done the deed, there are immediate and secondary steps to take.

Immediate- just because sex itself is over, does not mean the interaction is done.  Don’t flip back on the awkward switch and run for your clothes as soon as your animalistic senses wear off.  Stick around and lay together for a while to assure your partner that sex has not emotionally hurt or changed you.  When you’ve cuddled sufficiently, consider doing something intimate but not sexual to transition, like taking a shower or helping each other dress.  Reinforce the bond that you formed through sex.

Later- Debrief with your partner.  What went well?  What should we work on?  What could we change/add for next time to make the experience more enjoyable?

**Note- Do not let sex replace your relationship.  Undoubtedly, if the experience was positive, you’ll want to repeat the performance.  But try to alternate activities so that sex is a fixture of expression in your relationship, but not its only component.

So that’s what I had written.  Note, of course, that I totally forgot purposefully omitted the section on pleasure, but I think from the rest of the blog, you guys get that already.  Also, this was written from the assumption that the person’s sexual relationship would be ongoing (which it isn’t always- and I’m not here to judge that), but this guide would be a lot shorter if it were only covering one night engagements.  Anyway, what do you think?  Any other advice?

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