Sex is like a box of chocolates – there are a lot of options to choose from, and all of them are good. And like a box of chocolates, everyone has their preferences. Some people like chocolates with almonds; some are allergic to nuts. Maybe you’re feeling a little adventurous, so you try the white chocolate raspberry option, and guess what? It’s goooooddd. You’ve found your new favorite chocolate, and you’re never going back.
Our whole lives, we’ve heard “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.” (*cough, Forrest Gump, cough*) But I am here to call BS on this – you know exactly what you’re going to get, because all commercial, FDA-approved food such as chocolate has a nutrition label (and probably packaging) that tells you exactly what is inside. After all, you want to know what you’re buying, right?
Sex is like a box of chocolates. You should know exactly what you’re going to get. Of course, there is surprise and intrigue and the fun of it, but nothing should catch you too much off guard. Knowing what you’re going to get is exciting – it gives you something to look forward to, something you know you will like.
We like to know the nutrition value of our chocolate. So why not know the health of sex too? Here are some tips to help you get the healthy sex you deserve.
1.Talk to your partner(s)
Whenever you have sex, no matter where, when or with whom, TALK ABOUT IT. Talk about what you like and what you don’t, and find ways to give all parties involved the pleasure they deserve (who wants to eat chocolate they don’t like?). There is a misconception that talking can ruin the heat of the moment, but think – if you go out and buy a chocolate, and suddenly a friend calls you on the phone and you describe that chocolate to them, do you suddenly want it less? Or maybe you want it more, because talking about it has made you realize how wonderful it can be when you know and can look forward to what you are eating. The same applies for sex.
2. Ask about their health
Just as you would read the nutrition label on a box of chocolates, ask your partner(s) about their health. Ask them if they have been tested, checked or if they are clean. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but people forget so often. And never think that it’s intrusive or impolite. If they are consenting and respectful, they should answer honestly and clearly.
3. Use protection
Please. Just do it. Even if your partner(s) say(s) they are clean, keep yourself safe before you consent. STIs are a very real thing. Searle offers STI screenings on campus, and many centers in Chicago offer it for free.
4. Go somewhere comfortable and safe.
Maybe you like to eat your chocolates at the dinner table. Or maybe you eat them while sitting in bed. Find a place that makes you and your partner(s) comfortable. Maybe you want to go back to your room, but they don’t feel comfortable there. Suggest an alternative that will make you both feel safe so you both have can have a calm and relaxing sexual experience. Like chocolate, sex should be enjoyed – so have your cake and eat it too.
5. Have empathy.
It seems like such a simple thing, but being empathetic towards a partner can make a huge difference. Whether a one-time hook-up or a long, loving relationship, sex in which partners are aware of the emotions of the other usually end up as more fulfilling sexual experiences. Sex, regardless of the context, is still an intimate act that requires an immense amount of trust, so appreciate that trust by acknowledging the other person’s emotions, pleasure and comfort. This leads to better sex, and better sexual and emotional relationships.
We talk about consent, and we understand consent (through TNDs or otherwise), but evidently, some people still fail to practice active consent. We’ve seen the tea metaphor, the steps to actively ask for consent, but some don’t consider the actual practice of consent. Just because you have the power and privilege to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
Consent can be understood, but that is not enough. Consent needs to be practiced. So talk, ask your partner and be empathetic and understanding to their clear and active signs of consent. Again, have empathy, because in empathy we find the root of consent.
So, to have good sex, think about chocolate. Know what’s in that box and if you have permission to open and enjoy that chocolate. And maybe try something new. Who knows, you might enjoy it.
Cheers to better, safer, healthier, happier sex.