Sex is a different experience for everyone. It’s important to remember that sex — in addition to being safe and consensual — is supposed to feel good, both in your body and in your mind. It’s also designed to be enjoyable for everyone who participates. Here, Kids Help Phone shares more information about how to stay safe and have fun when it comes to sex.
Oftentimes, when people talk about sex, they discuss the mechanics. The proper terms, how body parts work, the risks… But people don’t always talk about the feelings associated with sex. Yes, it’s important to know about sex as a function of the human body. But it’s equally important to know about the feelings — both physical and emotional — that can come with sex. Here are some tips to ensuring sex is fun, safe and enjoyable for everyone involved:
- Have a conversation: throughout a sexual experience, it’s important to set the tone for trust and sharing. Try to keep the lines of communication open with a partner(s). You can take some time beforehand to talk about things such as your sexual history, expectations, sexual preferences, how you’ll stay safe and anything you may want to do to prepare. You may also consider setting some boundaries (e.g. by being clear about what you do or don’t want to do, or establishing a “safe word” to let your partner know when you’re reaching a limit) to make sure you’re all comfortable and focused on enjoying yourselves.
- Stay safe: before you get started, it’s also important to talk to your partner about how you’ll protect yourselves from things such as unplanned pregnancy (if applicable) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Learn about the different methods of birth control (to prevent pregnancy) and the different barrier methods (to prevent STIs) in order to make a decision about what will work best for you and your partner. Having this conversation in advance can help you be more prepared — and ready to have fun! — in the moment. You can also consider visiting a sexual health clinic — on your own or together — for regular STI testing.
- Get consent: in order for sex to be good, it has to be consensual. Everyone involved in a sexual activity must voluntarily agree to what’s happening. This agreement must be expressed clearly (and enthusiastically!) in both words and behaviour. For example, this may look like asking, “Is this OK?” and taking off each other’s clothes with an eager “Yes!” Consent is required for each act during sexual activity, and anyone can change their mind at any time. Remember, you don’t have to do or try anything you don’t want to.
- Explore your sexuality: sex is about feeling good — for many people, it’s about experiencing pleasure. Pleasure can come from different sensations, including anything from a touch to feeling desire for someone to sexual arousal to orgasm (an intense feeling in the body at the peak of sexual arousal). It’s important for everyone involved to pay attention to each other’s responses (e.g. vocalizations, movements, etc.). This can help you get to know each other’s bodies and discover what you each like and don’t like. You can check in and tell your partner what feels good and what doesn’t, and encourage them to do the same. If something doesn’t feel good, let each other know. Together, you can try other stuff to find out what does feel good instead.
- Try new things: when it comes to sex, there are a lot of options. You can try experimenting with new positions or techniques. Using items such as personal lubrication or “lube” (a liquid you can buy at drugstores or sex shops to decrease friction, increase pleasure and make things more comfortable) and sex toys can be a way to discover more about your bodies and have fun.
- Be yourself: sex is how you define it (e.g. masturbation, touching, oral sex, kissing, intercourse, anal sex, etc.). It’s key to do what feels good for you and your partner. You don’t need to fake anything, have an orgasm or do anything else in order to have a good time. It’s also important to be present in the moment so you can focus on both you and your partner’s needs/wants.
Remember, sex is more than just something your body does — it’s also about feeling good and having fun. If you have questions or would like to speak with someone about sexual health, you can talk to a friend, family member or health-care professional. You can always connect with a Kids Help Phone counsellor at 1-800-668-6868.