Archive for June, 2011

Ask anything: First-timers

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We are still getting more and more questions in our “Ask Anything” question box to the right! –> Sense volunteer Liam tackled today’s question…

Q: My boyfriend and I are planning our first time. I’ve been looking into birth control and trying to figure out which one will be best, but besides that, we’re both virgins and neither of us really know what to expect. I want this to be special. Advice?

After much time spent dwelling on what I would say to two people about to have sex for the first time, I was able to narrow my characteristic longwindedness down to 3 topics: Communication/Consent; Safer Sex/Birth Control; Pleasure.

–Communication/Consent—

Communicating about sex is really a win-win: you can make sure that your partner is consenting and into it as well as maximize the pleasure of everybody involved. From a super practical standpoint, communicating might look like saying things along the lines of “is it cool if I take off your pants”, “oh my god, what you just did felt amazing”, “Could you go a little slower”, “Stop for a second, I need a break”, or seriously a bazillion other things. I generally shy away from making sweeping generalizations BUT sex will probably be better if you know that your partner is listening and responding to you and would stop as soon you asked. To make communicating easier, some people like to use code words that you and your partner can come up with beforehand. A really common set is the traffic light system where ‘green’ means everything is fantastic, ‘yellow’ means turn it down a bit, and ‘red’ means stop immediately. Coming up with code words can also be a helpful way to start a conversation about sex, consent, and boundaries with your partner.

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Ask anything: sex and pleasure

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Sydney, Sense animator extraordinaire, makes another guest appearance to answer your anonymous questions! Thanks, Sydney!

Q: How do I give more enjoyment to my husband?

First off, I want to say that your enjoyment is just as important to this equation as your husband’s. Everyone has a sex drive and everyone has the right to experience pleasure. Sex is best when both people are into it!

Secondly, I must say that there’s no one (or even two or three) answer(s) to this. My main suggestion would be to communicate! Spend some time thinking about what sex acts turn you on and what you’re comfortable doing. Brainstorm a few ideas about what might be enjoyable for you and your husband. Think about your fantasies and what you want out of sex. Then sit down with your husband over coffee or a glass of wine or a meal or whatever. Tell him your fantasies. Ask him what his are. Discuss ways to make them a reality. If things get awkward or uncomfortable, maybe take a break. Be prepared to give him some time to do some thinking as well and then set a time in the near future that works for both of you to come back and talk about things.

As far as detailed suggestions about different things you can try and how to go about doing them, there are way too many options to discuss here. Internet research can be helpful, but remember to take everything you read there with a grain of salt. There’s a great – and quite detailed! – article over on Scarleteen that describes the anatomy of pleasure and which of our body parts can make us feel really good! There are also a lot of great books out there that you can find at many bookstores or even the library sometimes. My favorite is The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex. It talks about a wide range of topics related to sex, offers tips on how to make each sex act more enjoyable for both people, and is a super easy and fun read. There’s something in it for everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, and sexual preferences.

Keep in mind that the idea of what “good sex” is is different for everyone. Also, you and/or your husband may be into one thing one night and a totally different thing the next. Communication is an ongoing process. Keep talking with each other in different ways and different times. Some of the best discussions happen when you’re not in bed, but offering suggestions and checking in with the other person are also important before, during, and after sex. As a general rule, the more you talk about it, the more comfortable you will be and the better the sex will be.