In any sexual encounter, the time will probably arise when someone wants something that their partner is hesitant about or uncomfortable with. Sex is about making every partner feel good, safe, and respected, so negotiation is crucial. Whether it’s a one-night stand or a one-life stand, you’re probably going to have to do this at some point. We’re all diverse little perverted weirdos with our own needs and desires!
Firstly, explore – on your own and through porn, masturbation, and fantasy so you can see what feels good or uncomfortable. Sex with yourself is the safest sex you can have and exploring different things solo is rad before you hop in the saddle with a partner (or partners). When you know what you’re into and what you’re not, you’re able to make some informed decisions.
If you’ve always wanted to try anal, using a small plug and a lotta lube on your own is the best way to start. Always fantasized about bondage? Try binding your ankles or some other basic rope or tape work—not on your hands and arms, duh—to see how it feels. If you’ve been thinking about a threesome or a moresome, read some erotica or watch some orgy porn and imagine yourself in that situation.
Now, make a list. There are tons of great sites that have pretty comprehensive lists of sex acts and experiences (one is available at www.scarleteen.com). Cruise through one of these alone over a week or so and decide: what you will do, what you’d explore, what you might do, what you’re opposed to, what you absolutely will not do, and what you’ll revisit later.
Knowing your position beforehand makes negotiation easier. If you are single, keep this for your own knowledge and self-exploration. If you’re in a relationship or relationships, you can share this with the person or people you’re sleeping with and encourage them to fill out their own. You might find something you’ve both wanted to try and never talked about, or realize that your number one fantasy is their number one no-no.
Negotiating before sex actually occurs can be easier. If there’s something you like (or don’t) it’s best to bring it up beforehand. For instance, you might say, “Hey, just so you know, I’m (not) really into having my asshole touched during sex (but the rest of my body is yours).”
Safe words are great things to have when negotiating new sex acts. This way you don’t even have to say “no”; sometimes it’s just easier to say “cacao.” Of course, feel free to say “no” at any time in any sexual encounter. There are also situations where a decent and creative compromise can sometimes be had – you want a threesome, but he’s not into it? Get him to blindfold you and use a ton of different touches or penetrate you while using an anal toy for the feeling of double penetration.
If it is something that’s really important to you that you absolutely can’t imagine your sex life without, you will have to determine how sexually compatible you are with your partner. I am a monogamous woman for my own reasons, but if one of you is a leather daddy and the other is strictly vanilla, there are alternate relationship arrangements. Non-monogamous relationships can be a great way to have your needs met without breaking up – if they’re negotiated and planned for correctly with partners who are ready for them.
If you’re not comfortable with a non-monogamous relationship (they are not for everyone), you will need to consider if you will be able to live without that thing and if sacrificing it is worth it to be with the person you’re with. Begging, guilting, or shaming someone into trying something just to make you happy is not an option.
You can confidentially submit a question or topic to email@example.com.