Difficult conversations

Questions and discussions about relationships: girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, partners, friends, family or other intimate relationships in your lives.
pianolover
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Difficult conversations

Unread post by pianolover »

How can I talk to a potential romantic/sexual partners about negative sexual experiences and what can I except or should I except? what are some boundaries I might apply to these new relationships that will prevent the same things happening again like a sexual partner listening when you don't feel ready or safe to have sex?
Heather
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Re: Difficult conversations

Unread post by Heather »

I want to be super clear: if someone has not respected you when you have said no to sex and tried to or did do something sexual to you anyway, they have assaulted you. That's something THEY did, not something you are responsible for. And sparing something like self-defense training (which I always think is a good idea for everyone for a lot of reasons), there's nothing any of us can do to keep someone from sexually assaulting us once they start trying.

But one thing we often can do is to be selective in who we get intimate with and who we allow into spaces or situations in which we are vulnerable or potentially sexual with someone in the first place. I wouldn't suggest getting into a sexual situation with anyone you don't already feel safe with. If you don't feel safe, often it's because your instincts are doing you a solid by telling you something about someone or a situation is NOT safe, so it's good to listen, you know?

I'd certainly say that one good criteria for making the choice to enter into a sexual situation -- or even just a situation where you're vulnerable -- is to have at least one conversation with a potential partner before we get sexual with them where we say things like that we expect our limits and boundaries to be completely respected (and will get away and stay away from them if they ever intentionally cross them), and to be clear about what those limits and boundaries are.

You also get to take as long as you want to date and get to know someone before you even talk about or consider being sexual. Do you actually want a sexual relationship right now?
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pianolover
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Re: Difficult conversations

Unread post by pianolover »

Thank you and yes I do want to have an intimate relationship that includes sexual intimacy.
Sam W
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Re: Difficult conversations

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Lostand_found,

I wanted to chime in and add that it can also help to take note of how a potential sexual partner acts about boundaries in general (both yours and other peoples). Do they ask before doing things like hugging someone they don't know well? Do they back off and apologize if someone tells them they stepped on a boundary? Or do they often treat boundaries as something to push or poke at, often under the guise of being "funny" (I once knew someone who, after being told by a friend not to hug them without warning due to that freaking them out, went out of their way to hug said person without warning). As Heather said, someone choosing to hurt you is ultimately on them, not you, but paying attention to boundary red flags is a way to help you identify who you may want to steer clear off.

If you haven't read it before, you may also want to check out this piece. It's about learning to define and hold your boundaries in all sorts of situations: Be Your Own Superhero: Learning How and When to Stand Up for Ourselves.
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