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How do I tell her I want to get sexual?

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Anonymous asks:

I have been with my girlfriend for 2 months and I want to do a little more then just kiss. How can I tell her that without her thinking I'm taking advantage of her or her thinking that's all I want?

Heather Corinna replies:

It seems to me that you're dismissing the fact that your girlfriend probably has her own sexual desires, too. Now, whether or not you're who she wants to explore them with, or whether or not she feels like it's the right time in your relationship to do that is something else, but if you two like each other and both feel attracted to each other, it's pretty unlikely it's only you with sexual desires.

So, how do you bring this up without her thinking that's all you want? Does it feel like the right time for that for you? In other words, if you feel like she might think you're rushing things because of the pace of your relationship, by all means, wait until it doesn't feel like that to talk about this. Trust your instincts about what the right timing is in your relationship for more sexual activity, and consider that pacing separate from your own desires.

If it does feel like the time is probably right, it's not that complicated: you just need to say that that's not all you want.

You can make clear that you have interest in exploring other sexual activities if she shares that interest, and want to add that as an aspect of your relationship, but you also want all the other aspects of your relationship to continue and grow, too. You can tell her about why you want to move things forward sexually, about what your motivations are. You can make clear that you're not about to do anything unless it's something she also wants and is comfortable with. Ask how she feels about other sexual activities right now and listen to what she says. See if what you want is also what she wants, or is what she wants right now. Talk together about what you're both ready for when it comes to the responsibilities involved of doing more than kissing, like safer sex, birth control, and working out limits and boundaries together. Make clear that you're invested in what the right things are for both of you, not just yourself.

Honestly, if you're invested in not taking advantage, and not doing things she doesn't also want to do -- and you two are close enough to be able to communicate well -- it's going to be pretty hard for you to mess this up. Given you're asking about this, it sounds to me like you do have that investment.

Usually someone who feels they're being taken advantage of sexually feels that way because they're not being asked what they really want and what they want -- and don't -- isn't being respected. And when partners don't really talk about these things, it's also easy to have misunderstandings even when everyone involved IS trying to respect what a partner also wants, so just be sure to talk openly and honestly. In the case that you two aren't in a place yet where you feel comfortable doing that, that's usually a good indication that you need to work on better communication first before any kind of sex, because without solid communication, sex of any kind not only is more likely to be something partners aren't on the same page with, it's also way less likely to be good for both partners even when it is mutually wanted.

Okay? Here are some links that should help you out with all of this. I've included a piece for men about consent: while I don't know if you're male or female, it's pretty appropriate for everyone.

written 22 Feb 2008 . updated 11 Feb 2009

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