Our culture has lately been growing more and more aware of the many ways consent might be violated in sexual situations. This can make it feel confusing and difficult to know how to behave with others, especially in potentially sexual situations. Navigating sex and relationships is a complicated, awkward, and sometimes downright weird process that takes time to learn. It is also very personal; what might be comfortable and right in one relationship dynamic may be scary and difficult in another. Because many of us do not learn how to talk about sex easily, even opening a conversation about what you like or don’t like, or what your partner wants in bed can be a daunting task.
First and foremost, remember that you and your partner are different people with likely different areas of comfort and different sexual needs. Both of you are entitled to an experience that feels comfortable and safe, in which both may freely give and receive pleasure.
What consent looks like
*Content of the following videos is somewhat explicit in nature*
Safer sex practices
- Use a condom when having intercourse and a condom or dental dam when having oral sex. (You can also make a dental dam by cutting up a condom.)
- Talk to your partner about your STI (sexually transmitted infection) history and theirs, including any high risk behaviors that may lead to STIs, such as intravenous drug use or anal sex. STIs may include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, genital herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV), and others.
- Use a water-based lubricant like Astroglide or KY Jelly to prevent tearing of condoms or tearing of the skin that may make you more susceptible to STIs
- Spermicide can reduce the risk of pregnancy, but may increase the risk of HIV transmission
- Remember that anyone can have an STI and not show any symptoms
- RISD Health Services offers free condoms and STD testing.
How to talk about having safe sex
Planned Parenthood video