*flashing warning lights*. This blog post talks sex, not just what it is – but how to do it. If you are uncomfortable with words like masturbation or anus, this article may not be for you. You have been warned!
Sex. Itâ€™s everywhere, and with good reason. Human beings are inherently sexual, from the moment weâ€™re born til the moment we die. Thatâ€™s not to say weâ€™re always ready, willing and able to have sex- our sexuality develops just as we do, and every person is different. Some men rarely experience sexual arousal until their fifties, while some young girls canâ€™t stop thinking about sex, and every combination imaginable. Some people are asexual entirely, without any libido whatsoever. Weâ€™re all different, and we all grow.
This week is Sexual Health Awareness week, and I wanted to write an article about sex, because letâ€™s face it, most people think about it from time to time, some more than others. Itâ€™s highly likely youâ€™ve come across information about sex before- how to do it, what feels good for you and your partner/s, what type of contraception exists, STIâ€™s and the horrific pictures that follow… But something Iâ€™ve noticed among young people my age is that thereâ€™s not a lot of information about how to have enjoyable sex that isnâ€™t oppressive or disrespectful. Essentially, I’m going to discuss the interconnected issues of respect and consent. But before you say â€śIâ€™ve heard it all before- Australia says no etc. etc.â€ť, these are actually fairly complex issues and itâ€™s important to re-examine them in new light. I urge you to take five minutes to read this article- it might seriously improve your sex life forever.
Consenting to great sex
Sex is generally considered to be awesome. But what is sex? Is it strictly limited to vaginal intercourse? What about anal sex? Oral sex? Manual sex? What about dry sex (with at least some clothes on)? What about fondling? French kissing? Heavy petting? Iâ€™d argue that any exchange of a sexual nature (that is, inciting sexual arousal) is a form of sex, some more intimate than others.
Iâ€™d also like to throw a crazy idea out there: all sex is great, as long as everyone consents to it. Iâ€™ll explain the second half of that statement in a moment, but letâ€™s think about this first. Gay sex is great. Sadomasochism is great. Role playing is great. Anal sex, water sports, bondage and domination, transvesticism, fetishes, theyâ€™re all really, really great. As long as thereâ€™s consent.
Iâ€™m not comfortable with a lot of things. For example, Iâ€™m not comfortable masturbating onto someoneâ€™s feet. But if someone in the world really enjoys having someone masturbate onto his/her feet, then thatâ€™s absolutely fine. There are people in the world doing all sorts of sex-based activities right now, some of which horrify me, but if the people involved are fully committed and enjoying themselves, I have no right in the world to stop them. This is exactly the nature of Consent.
Consent is agreeing to something whilst being fully aware of what that something involves. To give a common example, if a man wants to have vaginal intercourse with a woman, she must be fully aware of what it means to have a penis inside her vagina and agree to it in order to provide consent. Someone who is drunk and not in full control of their faculties cannot, by definition, give consent. Someone who is unconscious, who is underage or mentally underdeveloped, who is tied up with a gag in their mouth, who (God forbid) is dead, who is a stranger who is witnessing (or worse, experiencing) a sexual act without being asked first if they wanted to see/experience it… All of them are unable to give consent, and it is never okay to force, coerce or trick them into having any kind of sexual contact, not even a little bit. Not even if they were enjoying it ten seconds ago and suddenly changed their mind. Not even if you think that their actions are speaking louder than their words. If they so â€śNoâ€ť, â€śStopâ€ť, â€śWait!â€ť, or anything along the lines of â€śI donâ€™t want to do that with youâ€ť, then you shouldnâ€™t do it. Forcing sex of any kind is illegal, and perhaps worse, it hurts people in the most intimate of ways.
I suggest reading the blog here on Tune In Not Out – Consent is Sexy for more info – it’s a great read.
Respect = even better sex
But consent isnâ€™t just about following the law. Thereâ€™s a damn good reason why itâ€™s so important: respect.
Respect is something that isnâ€™t always understood or valued, but it is the foundation for any kind of meaningful connection. And if youâ€™re not meaningfully connected during sex, you have some real issues that you need to look at. There is no more important time to be respectful than when you are in the very most intimate of places you can be with a person. But how does respect help you have better sex?
I cannot think of anything less sexy than hurting someone I care about. I would never find it arousing to hurt, shame or bully my girlfriend into doing something for my benefit. I would, on the other hand, find it ridiculously arousing if I asked her to do something for me and she did it willingly because she wanted me to enjoy it. I donâ€™t particularly care who you are or what youâ€™re into- thatâ€™s your business. But itâ€™s also the business of your partner/s. If you want your boyfriend to role play as a secret agent then ask him. If you want your girlfriend to wear her sexy underwear around the house then ask her. If you want your partner to try anal sex then ask them.Â And most importantly of all, respect their decision to say no!
Once you get to the stage where you respect your partner enough to ask them, and your partner respects you enough to consider what youâ€™re asking, everything changes. When you start talking about sex, what you enjoy, what you fantasise about, what youâ€™d really like your partner to do some day if they didnâ€™t mind trying it, sex becomes limitless. You donâ€™t have to feel guilty about what you like. You can start experimenting, if you and your partner want to, in whatever way you both enjoy. Good sex (however you like it) becomes a gift rather than something you have to steal or take or fantasise about secretly. Youâ€™re free to experience PLEASURE. And God, isnâ€™t that what itâ€™s all about? Why should anyone have to feel guilty about enjoying themselves as long as everyoneâ€™s okay with it? (Iâ€™m careful not to say â€śas long as no one gets hurtâ€ť, because some people like a good spanking among other things, and thatâ€™s cool too.)
So I guess what Iâ€™m really what Iâ€™m trying to say is that sex is really great, but it becomes so much better when you know that your partner is either enjoying it too, or doing it freely because they care about you enough to give you pleasure. In my books, the key to really amazing sex comes not from any activity in particular, but a value-based attitude: respect. Now go out there and get some.
PS: Just as a matter of interest, there are a number of Declarations of Sexual Rights, but this one is probably my favourite.
- The right to sexual freedom. Sexual freedom encompasses the possibility for individuals to express their full sexual potential. However, this excludes all forms of sexual coercion, exploitation and abuse at any time and situations in life.
- The right to sexual autonomy, sexual integrity, and safety of the sexual body. This right involves the ability to make autonomous decisions about oneâ€™s sexual life within a context of oneâ€™s own personal and social ethics. It also encompasses control and enjoyment of our own bodies free from torture, mutilation and violence of any sort.
- The right to sexual privacy. This involves the right for individual decisions and behaviors about intimacy as long as they do not intrude on the sexual rights of others.
- The right to sexual equity. This refers to freedom from all forms of discrimination regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, social class, religion, or physical and emotional disability.
- The right to sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure, including autoeroticism, is a source of physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual well being
- The right to emotional sexual expression. Sexual expression is more than erotic pleasure or sexual acts. Individuals have a right to express their sexuality through communication, touch, emotional expression and love.
- The right to sexually associate freely. This means the possibility to marry or not, to divorce, and to establish other types of responsible sexual associations.
- The right to make free and responsible reproductive choices. This encompasses the right to decide whether or not to have children, the number and spacing of children, and the right to full access to the means of fertility regulation.
- The right to sexual information based upon scientific inquiry. This right implies that sexual information should be generated through the process of unencumbered and yet scientifically ethical inquiry, and disseminated in appropriate ways at all societal levels.
- The right to comprehensive sexuality education. This is a lifelong process from birth throughout the life cycle and should involve all social institutions.
- The right to sexual health care. Sexual health care should be available for prevention and treatment of all sexual concerns, problems and disorders.
Sexual Rights are Fundamental and Universal Human Rights
SEX WEEK BLOGS
Check out the other blogs in our sex week series
- Putting the U in pleasure
- The Key to really great sex
- How to win at relationships
- K.I.S.S – Keep it safe, sugar
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