Rather than a “Sex Talk,” I want to talk to my kids early and often about relationship structures, sex and pleasure, kink, varying perspective on safe sex and sexual fluidity.
Here’s a list of things I’ll be sure to cover:
1. Monogamy is just one way of doing things, it’s not inherently better or healthier. Make sure you make a choice about how to structure your relationships instead of defaulting to heteronormativity or compulsory monogamy.
2. Gay and straight are over-simplified terms. Most people are somewhere in between, orientation can change—and some folks don’t even identify as male or female.
3. It’s okay to have casual sex if you feel clear and comfortable about wanting to. If you make a mistake, you will just learn from it.
4. Slut shaming is never okay, whether coming from you, or directed toward you. There is nothing inherently wrong with having sex, enjoying sex, talking about sex, etc.
5. No sex should be emotionally damaging.
6. Consent is the one thing you must have in any intimate encounter. There is no gray area here—and it is never too late to say no.
7. Consent is more than the absence of a “no.” Consent means everyone involved is clearheaded enough to make a choice, obviously comfortable and wanting to move forward. Consent is actively saying yes, either with words or actions.
8. Spend a lot of time thinking about and experimenting with your attraction to people of different genders. Don’t feel the need to “pick a camp” and stick with it. Sexual orientation is fluid and hard to determine in a culture that views it so dichotomously.
9. Kink can add a whole other dimension to sexual experience and may be something you want to try.
10. The Kink motto “safe, sane, and consensual” really applies to all sex.
11. Kink/BDSM are normal, healthy modes of sexual and erotic expression.
12. Sex should never hurt unless pain is a specific goal and purposeful. Don’t let anyone tell you pain is necessary to endure to have sex, the first time—or any time.
13. When penetration is part of a sexual encounter, foreplay should be varied and last until both people are certain they are ready for penetration.
14. Lubrication is only the beginning of arousal in females, and not a sign of readiness for vaginal penetration.
15. In general, you should be getting oral sex if you are giving it, unless you truly prefer not to. Sex should be reciprocal.
16. Penetration is only one of many, many ways to have sex and you can still have great sex without it.
17. Pulling out is a very bad birth control method.
18. Condoms are also a pretty bad birth control method.
19. Hormonal birth control can fuck you up in a lot of ways doctors won’t tell you about.
20. Prior to vaginal or anal penetration, practice on yourself first. Use astroglide or another water-based lubricant, start with small dildos and work up to larger.
21. Learn to make yourself come so you know what you like before being with a partner.
22. Masturbation is normal, healthy, fun, relaxing, and something you can do both within and outside the context of a variety of types of relationships, both with and without partners present.
23. Partners cannot read your mind, you will need to tell them what you like and don’t like, and they will need to tell you.
24. There is nothing wrong with looking at porn. I encourage you to encounter a variety of erotic material, including mainstream porn, feminist and other porn, erotic writing and your own written and imagined fantasies.
25. When you do look at porn, understand the vast majority is very unrealistic on many levels, and getting too used to getting aroused from porn can have negative consequences for partnered sex. All things in moderation.
26. Fantasies are never wrong no matter the content, including about someone other than the person you are with, and yes, even during sex.
27. Sex with more than one person at a time can be fun and something you might want to try. Safer sex practices are of utmost importance here.
28. Anal play can be pleasurable for both men and women, gay and straight.
29. Taking on roles you wouldn’t in other contexts, like being dominated or dominating can be fun and shouldn’t be seen as un-feminist or unhealthy if consensual.
30. Safer sex can be fun and sexy. Creativity is key.
31. You should feel completely at ease asking a partner to get STI tested before sex,but remember, unless they are monogamous with you, their status will go back to unknown right after that test.
32. There is no 100% safe sex. Preventing fluid exchange is the safest way to play.
33. There are some STI’s like HPV that there is little way to protect from and no test for (in men). Having said that, there are financial interests invested in making us more frightened about HPV than may be necessary. Always evaluate medical information from all sides. You will need to decide if you will view HPV as a normally occurring virus to live with or something you want to avoid.
34. Don’t let anyone tell you you can age out of your sex life, but realize your sexual experiences will change during different life stages.
35. Before having penetrative sex with an opposite sex partner, be sure you have thought through the consequences of pregnancy and are prepared to address pregnancy if it should occur, even if you are using lots of birth control.
36. No birth control method is 100%. A 1-2% failure rate is very high. You have no idea how easy it is to be one in one hundred.
37. Having multiple sexual partners can be fulfilling, empowering, fun, help you learn about yourselves and what you like, and sustain you if you ever end up attempting to maintain a monogamous, long-term relationship.
38. Try lots of sex toys, but wash frequently and share with caution.
39. Sexual exploration with roleplay, sensation play, toys, additional partners, etc., can be good ways to keep sexual excitement in a long-term relationship, but require good, honest communication. Sex will feel different and take more work after the limerence “honeymoon” phase of a relationship.
40. In general, if you aren’t comfortable talking about it, you shouldn’t be comfortable doing it. Great sex requires great communication.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise