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Heather Corinna replies:
Hey. I have been going out with my boyfriend for a year now and he is really into sex. I am worried about it though. Whenever I'm at his house he always tries to touch me, but I don't want to be tight so I let him. Now he is hinting on sex! I am so embarrassed because I have nobody to speak to this about, my Mum died when I was little so I REALLY don't want to talk to my Dad about sex. Help!!!
Hey Anon: I'm sorry about the loss of your Mom. Often Dads really can do just as good a job in terms of talking about these things, so if he's open to it, you might want to consider talking to him. But obviously, what's important is that you have someone to talk to you feel comfortable talking to, so if that comfort isn't there, it's understandable that you don't want to pursue that.
What I'm hearing in this whole post is all about what your boyfriend wants. That HE is "really into sex." That you "let" him touch you. That HE is "hinting" about more sex.
Nowhere in any of this am I hearing anything about you being anything but passive here, about you truly wanting -- sexually, not just emotionally, or because you want your boyfriend to have what he wants -- what's going on. All I hear on your end is that you're very worried, and if you're worried about all this but don't feel like you can put the brakes on as you need to, that's a big problem.
Partnered sex needs to be a two-way street where both people are in the driver's seat for a healthy sexual relationship and for sex which is mutually fulfilling and fair. So, if you're only engaging in whatever sex you are because he wants it, or you're worried he'll think poorly of you, then it's time to remedy this ASAP.
In other words, it's clear you two need to have a talk about this. "Hinting" about sex isn't talking about sex, nor is it really engaging the other person and asking about what THEY want and how THEY really feel. If you two can't really have a real chat about sex, then ANY sort of sex is too much, too soon.
You've been together for a year, so talking about loaded issues should be something you're used to by now. What you need to do, for yourself, first, is figure out what YOU want, independent of what he wants. Do you WANT to be having sex: of any kind, or certain kinds? What do YOU like about any kind of sex, beyond what HE likes, or how it satisfies him? Do YOU feel ready for the sex you're already having, or the additional sex he's hinting at? When you're engaging in any kind of sex together, is it feeling good to you, physically and emotionally, or not? Do YOU ever initiate sex or want to, or is it all him? When you get worried, is he being responsive to that, and asking if you're really okay with all this? If you don't feel ready for any sex yet, or certain kinds of sex, what are some of the reasons why -- for instance, maybe you just aren't that interested in sex yourself yet, maybe you need more information on the sex you're having to feel okay about it, maybe you need to feel more able to set limits, etc.
When you think about those things and come to some conclusions, then you can bring them to the table in a discussion with him. I would suggest opening that conversation with something like, "You know, we've been doing this stuff, and I know you're really into it, and suggesting you want more, but I'm not in the same space as you are with it, so we really need to have a talk about all of this so that sex of any kind is about both of us, equally, and we can make these decisions together and both be on the same page." Then you can talk about his wants and your wants, about safer sex and birth control, about what limits and boundaries you have, about what's a pace with sex that's really okay with you, and about how you both can get to a place where this really is about the two of you, not just you passively going along with things.
I've included a nice list of articles for you which should help you figure out some of these things and also have some information to bring to the table in these discussions. You can even print them out for your boyfriend, too, if you like: he could benefit from them as well. Just be sure that even if it takes you a little while longer to get to having that talk, that you at LEAST in the interim say that you need things to slow down while you're figuring your own stuff out. If he can't respect that, then he isn't ready for sex with a partner either, however "into it" he may be for himself, okay?