CW: This article includes discussion of sexual assault
Let's talk about sex. From picking the right contraception to discussing unhealthy sexual habits, we've got you covered.
Sexual health has been a prominent issue since teenagers and young adults began fornicating with every Tom, Dick, or Harry. Let’s be clear: this is not an article to shame you on your chosen actions. If you’re of age, then you are responsible enough to make your own decisions, and be as promiscuous as you like, as long as it isn’t hurting anybody. Whether you are a virgin, or someone with a few notches on your bed post, it is important to be aware of the unhealthy habits we can often find ourselves slipping into when it comes to our sex lives. These unhealthy habits aren’t exclusive to women – every single person who is sexually active needs to be fully aware of the problems that may arise from having frequent sexual intercourse.
Not using protection
Mainly applying to those with new sexual partners, preventing sexual diseases and unwanted pregnancies should be your ultimate concern when having sex. I understand that it can be a downer (mind the pun) by reaching over for a condom, but I can guarantee a bigger downer would be being told you have an infection you could have prevented. If you’re using money as an excuse, get down to your GP’s office and just ask for condoms. If you’re too embarrassed to ask for condoms, you’re probably not mature enough to deal with the responsibilities of having sex. If you want to play, play safe.
Not being picky
The biggest mistake of sleeping around, is sleeping around. You should be picky about the people you share intimate moments with, and just for your assurance, this isn’t coming from a judgemental place, but from experience. Don’t have sex with someone if you’re not attracted to them but just need some attention. Don’t have sex with someone so that you can get experience for when the right person comes along. Don’t have sex with someone just so that you can say you’ve slept with a multitude of people. Have standards and stick to them.
Not having your boundaries respected
This may be the most important one of all, especially in the age of #metoo. Some people become quite adamant on the fact they want to sleep with someone and can often take things way, way too far. Consent is indispensable, whether the person is your partner, close friend, acquaintance or one-night stand. Ranging from ignoring safe words to forcing themselves on you, it is not right. My own personal accounts range from being woken up by a man forcing himself inside of me, to full-blown rape, and I wish somebody would have helped me realise I was the victim sooner.
Consent is indispensable, whether the person is your partner, close friend, acquaintance or one-night stand.
We often blame ourselves when we are sexually abused, with questions racing through our minds such as “maybe I didn’t say no enough?” or “maybe he didn’t realise I was upset?” We all see the “Tea Consent” video when we started university, do not forget it. If the unimaginable does happen to you, tell somebody as soon as you can.
Not feeling comfortable talking about anything sex related
If you are having sex, you need to be able to talk about it. By this, I am not referring to dirty talk but the value of sexual communication. It is an essential part of a healthy sex life and is important for many reasons, including expressing any reservations or boundaries you may have and sharing your sexual desires.
Not dealing with your feelings in a practical way
Sex can be used to soothe your emotions in the moment, but by the end of it, chances are your problems will still be there. Relying on sex to boost your mood will only work in the short term – it should not be your primary coping mechanism. This also extends to porn and masturbation as a way of distraction from feelings they can’t bear to deal with. The next time you find yourself trying to use any of these methods, question whether you are merely doing it for pleasure or if you may be trying to use it as a distraction for a bigger issue.
Relying on sex to boost your mood will only work in the short term - it should not be your primary coping mechanism.
Sex can be great and pleasurable but most of all, it is an intimate act that you want to share with the right person. We must remember to take care of ourselves mentally and physically, and realise the responsibilities that come with being sexually active. Listen to your body and don’t force yourself into doing anything you are not comfortable with. Acknowledging your patterns for these unhealthy habits can be enough to make a change in the way you approach your sex life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with it all, enlisting the help of an experienced sex therapist can help you delve into any unresolved issues.
Featured Image / Marina Afzal-Khan
Sex can be a wonderful thing - just make sure you take care and are aware of the harms. Comment below or get in touch!