Around here, we often assert the importance of communicating with one's partner. We talk about how crucial it is to talk about sex or protection or boundaries or relationships or whatever else. But it's often really difficult to have these important conversations. Sometimes it's hard to even know how to start.
Research and good ole' common sense both tell us that one of the best ways to make these conversations easier is to practice them ahead of time. Indeed, practice does make perfect. For that reason, we're starting a new series of posts that should provide a safe space for you to "try out" some of these hard conversations and get feedback from other users. By sharing tactics, locations, and even wordings, we can learn from one another about what might work well in a given situation to help bring up the "big topics" and make discussion more productive.
The rules are simple. Tell us a little bit about your relationship (same-sex/opposite-sex, how long you've been together, what the general tone of your relationship is, etc.) and why you want to have this conversation right now. Then, try out the conversation. Be as specific as you possibly can about location and what you plan to say. If you'd like, you can even fill in what you think your partner's responses would be. Think about this like writing a script for your conversation.
For example: Relationship: Together for 2 months, heterosexual relationship, both of us are generally open to conversation, partner sometimes gets embarassed when I try to bring up sex. Location: Kitchen table at home, having a snack Conversation goal: We haven't been sexually active yet, but lately things have progressed physically. We may be sexually active soon, and I want to talk about boundaries before something happens that someone regrets. Conversation: Me: "Hey, lately I've been searching around on the internet and I found this really interesting site. One of their articles talked about how important it was to talk with your partner before becoming sexually active. Our relationship is really important to me and lately we seem to be becoming more physically intimate. I think it's time for us to talk about some of this so that we are both on the same page. I know it can be difficult and a bit uncomfortable, but I really want us to talk about this. What do you think?" Etc.
Often, folks talk about how difficult it is to talk about birth control/protection with their partners. This is especially difficult when a partner doesn't WANT to use a specific method (for example, a partner expressing that they just don't want to use condoms). So how do you have those conversations? How will you bring it up to your partner that you want to use condoms/the pill/dental dams/etc.? What will you say if they counter-argue that they don't want to do it?
Feel free to contribute whether you have already had this conversation (it'd be great to see some "re-creations" of conversations that have worked for folks in the past) or if you are getting ready to have a conversation. Whether you are not sexually active right now, are talking about beginning to become sexually active for the first time with a partner, are thinking about engaging in a new activity, or just need to renegotiate some areas of your partnered sex life, post your proposed conversations.
Remember...the only rule is that you should be specific. Give us the dialogue (not just the shortened, "well, we'll talk about boundaries, and then condoms and everything will be fine" version) that you are thinking of using.
The first time I seriously brought up sex was when my current boyfriend and I were at 15 months. We were talking on the phone, if I remember correctly.
Me: "I'm gonna be honest here, I want to make love next time I come over. I've been thinking about it for a long time, and now I feel comfortable enough to go through with it. I want you to be my first." Him: "Are you absolutely positive? I don't want you to jump into something you're not ready for." Me: "I'm ready. Are you?" Him: "I'm ready whenever you are. So should I go buy some condoms or...?" Me:"Yes, please. Lube too, ok? I can pay you back later." Him: "No that's ok. Do we really need lube?" Me: "Yes, we do. Natural lubrication won't be enough, plus the condom is more likely to tear without it." Him: "Ok, any specific brands?" Me: "I heard Durex and astroglide are good."
I am a very straight forward person, and the only thing I have trouble talking about are emotions. So I really have no problems bringing birth control up with prospective parteners. I'm open about being on the pill, and in the envoirnment I'm in, I've never run into anyone who had a problem with using a condom. I keep an (expired) glow in the dark one in my purse for a conversation starter, actually.
Posts: 45 | Registered: Mar 2005
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