Going Deep with Jodie Layne

Dear Jodie,

Recently I get easily aroused. I wanted to do something different, other than masturbation, but I don’t have a girlfriend… Do you think a friend with benefits is a useful way to switch it up?

Signed, anonymous

Oh, yes – masturbation is a great tool for self-pleasure and requires no more than a hand and maybe a little lube. But, just like any great sexual relationship, things can get stale after awhile.

There are a few ways you can spice up your solo routine, such as using masturbator sleeves, which offer different textures, pressures, and new sensations. You can also masturbate to different porn or fantasies, or read some erotic literature. If you’ve already tried these things or are just ready to try something else, a casual sexual partner could be appropriate for you. It sounds like you know for sure you are looking to have sex with someone else and aren’t looking for a girlfriend.

The first thing to consider is your safety and the safety of any would-be partner. Before you even think of making an arrangement for continual casual sex, get yourself tested for a full STI panel. Unless you have been tested six months from your last sexual encounter, you need to get tested again. Keep in mind that it is impossible to test men for HPV – a virus whose strains can cause cervical cancer in women and can cause warts and cancer of the penis, anus, or throat in men. Knowing your status will help you make informed decisions about what kind of sex you are willing to have with someone and what kind(s) of protection you will need to use.

Deciding your boundaries, needs, and desires is something that you will need to do both alone and with your partner. Deciding if you would like to have one consistent partner, or just random one-night stands is a good place to start. If you would like to have a consistent partner, how do you intend to do that? How often would you ideally like to be having sex with that person? Do you want to hang out with them or just booty-call and have them over for a quick sexual encounter? Is there anything specific you are into as far as sexual acts, kinks, or fetishes that you are looking to explore? It’s important to sort out your sexual boundaries beforehand – not just what you want to do, but what is definitely a no-go.

Deciding who will provide protection and where you will have sex is also worth considering. A big issue is whether you will have other sexual partners or be monogamous. As many STIs are transferred through bodily fluids, deciding whether to kiss open-mouthed or ingest the other’s ejaculate (becoming fluid-bonded) can be kind of a big deal.

Kissing and cuddling can be seen as very intimate acts; discussing this and deciding if you will engage in them should happen as well. What will you do if one of you starts having emotional feelings towards the other? What will you do if one of you meets someone they are interested in dating? Hashing these things out beforehand will ensure that you can communicate with and trust your partner be prepared for issues that may arise and have a reasonable, agreed-upon way to deal with them. You might question whether you are over-thinking or over-discussing, but there really is no such thing.

In terms of staying physically safe, safer sex methods are not the only thing to worry about. If you intend to find a sex partner online—as many more people than you think do—then it is important to take as many precautions as possible to make sure you are not at risk of any other physical harm.

Meet a potential partner in a public place before getting down to the sexy stuff and make sure you feel safe and they are who they say they are. Let a trusted friend know where you are going, how long you expect to be, a physical description of the person, and what their name is. Get them to call you to check in when you think you will be finished getting it on. Be responsible and make sure you update them; there is nothing worse than having the cops bust in on your sexy-times.

Once you cover your bases, have fun with your new partner and make the most out of your mutually-beneficial relationship. Check in often to ensure you are both comfortable with the way things are progressing – and don’t forget about masturbating!

You can confidentially submit a question or topic to jodie.m.w.layne@gmail.com.