It’s a very exciting time in a couple’s life when each person reaches the threshold of desire and makes a commitment to enter into sexual activity. Sparks fly, emotions are high, hormones are raging, and each person is ready to jump into the sack for a good ol’ time. However, there are a few questions that should be asked before sex even begins.
It may seem like a buzzkill for some, but having casual sex talk before “getting down” is a healthy way to ensure the complete safety and pleasure of both partners involved. From condom talk to STD tests and even marital status, these conversations should be had before leaping into any sexual experience.
Here are the five questions every person should ask before having sex.
1. What Is Your Sexual History
Sexual history isn’t so much about the notches on a person’s belt, but more so about sexual health history and the types of people s/he’s slept with. The most important part of disclosing sexual history is revealing one’s STD status and previous test results.
There are currently over 65 million people living with an incurable STD in America, with 15.3 million new cases being diagnosed each year. These diseases are serious cases that can be harmful to the body and even cause death if they go untreated. And unfortunately, most STDs are difficult to detect without being tested, because they don’t display symptoms and can lie dormant for months or even years. Certain STDs—such as HIV, genital warts and herpes—have no cure, and are lifelong diseases that require frequent treatment for the carrier to remain healthy.
Getting tested and knowing the status of a partner is critical for maintaining optimum health and a worry-free sexual experience. Ask your partner about the last time s/he has been tested and the results of said test. A general response of “I’ve been tested recently” isn’t always enough. If uncertainty about a person’s status lingers in the back of your mind, make the commitment to get tested together.
HIV plagues the African-American community in alarming numbers, with 44 percent of newly diagnosed cases being within the AA community (which statistically only makes up 12 percent of the population). This fact alone should encourage partners to get tested together before entering into sexual activity.
The type of people a partner has had sex with in the past also plays a role in sexual history. Whether a partner has slept with multiple partners of the opposite or same sex, or if one partner has frequently solicited the services of a working gal or guy, being involved in these sexual scenarios places a person at higher risk for contracting STDs.
These can be tough facts to ask anyone to reveal. But by approaching the conversation in a casual, non-judgmental manner, each person can get the answers they seek without causing harm or insult.
2. Are You Married?
Infidelity is a common practice amongst individuals who aren’t receiving everything they want in their marriage, and it’s also common for a person seeking extramarital companionship to refrain from disclosing his or her marital status. Before falling head over heels and becoming attached (intimacy will create an unspoken bond thanks to the release of oxytocin during sex), ask your partner if s/he is married or even in a serious relationship.
Being in a situation that could possibly end up in a lawsuit, broken families, or shattered trust on both ends can become unhealthy and downright messy. Avoid the drama and ask for the truth about relationship status.
3. What Are Your Views on Safe Sex?
There are a number of people who have latex allergies or just prefer to have sex in the raw versus sex with a barrier, and this is something that can place a couple at risk for contracting STDs. Speaking to a partner about his or her views on safer sex practice will prepare each person for what to expect, especially in the case of having a latex allergy.
There are several non-latex options on the market available in multiple sizes; however lambskin condoms only prevent unwanted pregnancy and do not protect from STDs. Too often, couples jump into sexual activity without discussing the use of protection, placing both partners at risk. Respect the health of both your partner and yourself by sharing and discussing views on safer sex practices.
4. What Type of Sex Do You Like?
Every person has a different definition of what feels good sexually. In order for an experience to be completely satisfying for both partners, a discussion must ensue about the type of sex that’s enjoyable. Oral sex, anal sex, vaginal intercourse, masturbation, sex using toys, group sex and more are all versions of sexual activity that can be enjoyed, and it takes a good sex talk to discover exactly what each person places at the top of his/her list.
Too often people go into sexual situations without ever discussing this important factor, assuming what works for the next person works for their current partner, and this is a huge mistake. Save time and take the guessing out of sex by having a discussion about sexual preferences and what techniques work well. Once disclosed, each partner can work on pleasuring the other in a battle of sexual prowess.
5. What Type of Birth Control Do You Use?
When two become one during sexual intercourse, creating a new life obviously becomes a possibility. But when that couple had no intentions of being a long-term match, an unwanted pregnancy is the last thing on the agenda. Asking about birth control is a very important question to answer before getting into the heat of the moment where both people are at an emotional point of no return.
Oxytocin is released during sex, making each person feel like they’re in love and bonded, so sound decision-making can become extremely difficult while on a sexual high. There are several birth control options on the market, including oral contraception, spermicides, intravaginal rings and intrauterine devices. But the best simultaneous defense against STDs and unwanted pregnancy is the male latex condom.
There are some who don’t believe in the use of birth control for religious reasons, and for a person who doesn’t intend on remaining with his or her partner in a monogamous union, this may be an issue. Talk about the use of birth control and the options that are right for each of you. The best option may turn out to be abstaining from sex all together if each person’s views on contraception are too opposing.
Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.