Whether it be lovers tossing around in a sun-glazed bed, or strangers meeting for a night of passion, all sexual encounters need to have clear lines of consent.

This kind of idea resonates with some people, but often shocks others. “What do you mean? I've been with this guy for six months, why do we still need to talk about consent to do stuff together?”

Unfortunately, a relationship is not considered a contract for consent, nor should an initial sexual encounter serve as the guideline for future ones. Each sexual encounter is its own distinct scenario, and all partners should be discussing what they find pleasurable.

In its worst scenarios, sexual encounters that have vague notions of consent, where partners are simply assuming what the other person wants, can be its own form of sexual assault.

Using the term “assault” invites incredibly dark connotations. There are times where one feels like the other partner crossed some kind of undisclosed boundary.

You might have some kind of hint that your fling had some rough tendencies, but you felt wronged and confused when she slapped you in the middle of intercourse. Something about it felt cruel, and within an instant, your feelings of lust turned into disgust. Or, this kind of assault can happen when a steamy kiss turns sour; the partner forcibly suggests the other to perform oral intercourse. It might be what the receiver wants, but the other partner might feel differently.

Especially in situations like this, there is a conflict of interest. Sex is meant to be pleasurable for all persons involved. If one habit or quirk interests one partner and not the other, whose pleasure is considered? Can there be compromise?

All signs point to yes. No one can claim authority to speak for all relationships, but there ought to be some fundamental understanding of every person's need. The best kind of sex is one that has open discourse, where all partners are considering each other and what they want.

For some reason, a lot of people are getting really caught up with “performance.” Remember, sex is supposed to feel good. Why let it hold you back and make you feel bad about yourself? If you are trying to force passion, it will never work out.

One of the many first steps to doing so is to remember that sex is beautiful, a union not just of the body, but of the mind as well. You chose the person or persons you are having sex with for some kind of reason. Make that clear.

But, also make clear that all parties should be having a good time and to be relaxed. Many instances where sex slumps are the awkward advances to some penultimate stage of sex. There is no need to rush to penetrative sex, and in no way is it the best kind of sex. There are multitudes of healthy relationships in which there is no penetrative sex at all.

The key is to have fun: you are getting to explore your bodies. Let it be magical and something worth remembering.


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