Many people find it difficult to have a Safer Sex conversation. I used to worry, like most people do... What if it ruins the moment? What if they don't want to sleep with me afterwards? What if they think I'm a slut because I brought it up?
... All these what ifs, combined with the fact that we don't know what to say or how to say it, leaves most people taking the "let's let it happen organically" route: saving it for the last possible moment (awkward!) or, worse, passing it up all together and crossing your fingers while you uncross your legs...
Be the change you want to see in the bedroom. Speak up!
Most people learned how to pleasure themselves in silence. We explored our growing bodies behind locked, bathroom doors, or hiding beneath the covers with the lights out. Nary a peep was uttered during our reconnaissance missions lest we be discovered and shamed. We basically trained ourselves to be sex mimes!
I believe this tendency towards mime-like silence has woven itself throughout our love lives, making it harder to speak up about safer sex or the kinds of pleasure we like. And if you can't speak up about it, you sure as heck can't ask for it, which means you might never get to try it in the first place! So, if you don't want to stunt your sexual growth, be the change you want to see in the bedroom. Break the cardinal rule of mimes and speak up!
It's harder to speak up when you don't know what to say
It's hard to initiate a conversation when you don't know what you're supposed to be saying! I had a semester of drivers' ed, and an entire class in high school just to learn typing, but no safer sex conversation class! High school would have been a great time for me to practice getting comfortable reciting my STD statuses, rather than telling the classroom how "lovely, dark and deep" Robert Frost's woods were.
Add the anxiety of having sexual desires, wanting to "do it right," our culture's sex-negativity, and a hefty dose of slut shaming (Nice boys and girls don't talk about sex! Only sluts and whores negotiate sex!), and no wonder no one wants to be the first to open up their mouths...
Reid's Safer Sex Elevator Speech
Here is the "script" I use for my Safer Sex Elevator Speech. Write down your answers for each and then try it out on yourself in the mirror or on a friend or a lover... Let me know how it goes!
- When were you last tested for STDs, what did you get tested for, and what was the status of those tests?
- What is your current relationship status and sexual orientation, and what, if any, relationship agreements do you have that the other person should know about?
- What are your Safer Sex Protocols and needs?
- One or two things that you know you like sexually (or might want to do with this person).
- One thing you know you don’t like sexually (or that you aren't up for today).
- Optional: Quick rundown of any risky sexual things you’ve done since you were last tested.
- Last step: Then ask the other person, “And how about you?” and listen to what they say and how they say it...
You want to initiate the Safer Sex Conversation, because it's the best assessment tool ever!
You will alleviate many of your love life woes simply by upgrading whom you sleep with. And the best assessment tool/strategy I can offer you? Have your Safer Sex Conversation, and have it sooner.
If you scare a potential sexy-time prospect away by initiating a conversation on safer sex needs, that just means they're not playing at your level and they did you a favor.
You want to be knockin' boots with the awesome people who are playing at your level. By awesome, I mean people who have high Emotional I.Q.'s and at least a green belt in Sexual Health! Make your sexual orientation "awesome sexual," and pick the Einsteins and Bruce Lees of the sex and relationship world. Why? It doesn't guarantee that things will always go more smoothly, but it does mean that you're bumpin' naughty bits with people who are more likely to be taking their own sexual health into account (and yours by extension) and who will probably bring less drama into your life and bedroom!
After you share your 2-minute, Safer Sex Elevator Speech with someone, you get a load of information about that person's Emotional I.Q. and Sexual Self-awareness when you ask them, "And how about you?" What they say in the next 2-minutes will tell you volumes about how well they know their likes and dislikes sexually, how well they can use their words and speak up about sex, and how you might want to adjust your safer sex protocols for maximum peace of mind and pleasure!
"And how about you?" speaks volumes...
Here's the real gem of being the first to speak-up and share your Safer Sex Elevator Speech: Not only did you just break the ice and model that it's okay to talk about sex, you also modeled a super direct and easy way for them to share back, which means whatever they tell you in the next 2-3 minutes speaks volumes!
By initiating the safer sex conversation, you've created the perfect assessment opportunity to figure out where others are in their sexual and relationship development, if they have ever thought about safer sex conversations or gotten tested, what they like and don't like in the bedroom, their relationship status, and their ability to use their words! These are great things to know so that you can adjust your needs and expectations accordingly--and better to do this before you get naked than leave it to the last second. So the next time you find yourself in an elevator, consider turning to the person next to you and asking them if they'd like to hear you practice your Safer Sex Elevator Speech!