How to Make Any Sex-Related Convo Way Less Awkward
Although sex is (usually) much more fun to have than to talk about, those awkward conversations are some of the most important discussions to have. A simple talk can ensure that you’re satisfied, happy, and healthy, and that your partner is too, and all of that leads to a stronger relationship (and hotter sex, let’s be honest).
From virginity at an unconventional age to STIs and bedroom kinks, the following sticky issues may be difficult to bring up, but don’t worry—we have (expert- and science-backed) tips to navigate the most difficult convos.
Note for the grammar police: We use the pronoun “they” throughout to indicate one partner or the other, as the issues discussed can involve any and all genders.
1. The Issue: I Want My Partner to Get Tested
With an estimated 110 million total STIs in the United States and 20 million new infections a year, sexually transmitted infections pose a real risk to sexually active people. Because these infections don’t always show symptoms, it’s super important to know if you are infected before exposing yourself (in more ways than one) to your partner. Getting tested is not only crucial for one’s own health and that of a partner’s but also for the health of the public (you noble citizen, you!), i.e. future partners and their future partners and their… you get it. Even if one partner does their part, it takes two to stop the spread of an STI, so this conversation is a must-have before a couple sleeps together.
The conversation: Again, this isn’t an easy one. Licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist Lori Buckley suggests bringing up the topic when you are pretty sure that sex is in the imminent future (as in, you’re likely to sleep with this person soon, but not so soon that you’re already in bed). She recommends starting by talking about your own history and then asking about your partner’s. A good line: “I have been recently been tested, and I don’t have any STIs. Have you been tested?” A direct, non-accusatory approach like this effectively introduces the issue so there’s no room for misunderstanding.
2. The Issue: I Have an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection)
Since it’s definitely possible (it’s in the name, after all) to transmit an STI to someone you’re sleeping with, it’s a good idea to bring up the topic before things get too hot and heavy. Preventing the spread of STIs means knowing a) whether one has a disease, b) how and when it is transmitted, and c) how transmission can be prevented. A good deal of prevention relies on practicing safer sex, which in turn relies heavily on communication. Seriously: One study found that when couples talked to each other about …read more