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Making consent and safer sex practices sexy

Illustration: Ro Gonzalez @beautifullyflawedbean
Words: Quinn Rhodes

 

I love talking about sex, but I know that not everyone is as comfortable with discussing the ways they get off as I am. One of the reasons that people are anxious about talking about sex before they have sex is because they’re worried that setting out their expectations will “ruin the mood”. 

We need to stop worrying about “ruining the mood”. 

You can’t ruin the mood. Ok, you can ruin the mood, but not by talking about sex, and not by checking in for explicit consent before kissing someone. Yes, these conversations will sometimes feel awkward, but they’re also incredibly important – and there are ways to make them a tiny bit sexier.

Tip #1: Do it while sexting 

Unless you’re picking someone up in a bar and heading straight to your hotel room for sex, you’ll probably be texting the person you need to have these conversations with before you end up in bed together. It’s often much easier to talk about sex when you can’t see the person you want to have sex with, so sending them a text with these questions in might make things less awkward (if you already know you’re definitely going to have sex).

In my opinion, this is best done alongside sexting. Tell your partner that you’re excited to see them and ask if there’s anything they’re especially looking forward to. Mention that you loved the way they sucked your dick the last time you had sex and ask if they’d be up for doing it again – this time while you eat them out. These are conversations about boundaries and consent and framing them as “it would make me so wet if you…” can make them easier.

Tip #2: Make it part of the foreplay

If you are picking someone up in a bar and heading straight to your hotel room for sex, you can still work these conversations into your flirting and foreplay. It’s possible to be subtle about safer sex practices while also talking dirty. For example, “What if I left you waiting on the bed while I stripped and told you that you weren’t allowed to let go of the headboard as I rolled a condom on to your dick and sat on it slowly” clearly says that you want to use a condom while having sex, while also turning your partner on. 

One of my favourite questions when I’m having sex with someone for the first time is ‘touch your junk like you would like me to touch it right now’. It’s not only a hot question to ask someone, but it lets you learn about how the touch themselves and how they want you to touch them. When you touch them yourself, you won’t have to ask, “do you like this harder?” or “should I go faster?” because they’ve already shown you.

Tip #3: Respecting boundaries is (in itself) sexy

This one comes back to the idea that ‘consent is sexy’. In reality, consent is necessary rather than sexy. What’s sexy is explicit consent and enthusiastic consent, and what’s hot is knowing that you’re about to fuck someone who respects you enough to ask how you want to be touched. I don’t want to have sex with someone who thinks it’s ok to assume that I’m obviously up for anal sex – I want to have sex with someone who asks me if I enjoy having things in my butt. 

While this might not work for everyone, I’m a big fan of being flat-out asked “Is it ok if I kiss you?” or “Are you ok with me taking my jeans off?” because it shows that my partner is considering that I might not be as turned on as they are, or ready to progress to anything more than making out. That, in itself, makes me more likely to want to have sex with them. Oh, and explicit questions also express your desire for your partner, which is also very sexy.

Whether or not you want to make these conversations sexy, these conversations are necessary. We need to normalise talking about consent and safer sex practices and doing so absolutely doesn’t have to ruin the mood. In fact, doing so can lead to better sex because you discuss what you actually want to get up to together rather than just follow a society-prescribed script.

It’s also important to note that not everyone thinks you should have these conversations while turned on or in a sexy headspace. However, I think that it can make them easier to happen, so if it’s something that works for you and your partner then you should embrace it as a way to get you talking about sex! As we need to have these conversations anyway, why shouldn’t we try to make them sexy?

This article was written for the Self & More blog by Quinn Rhodes. Quinn (ze/hir) is a queer, trans and disabled sex blogger and sex nerd with vaginismus, who writes about hir adventures in learning to fuck without fucking up. Check out Quinn's blog, On Queer Street or follow hir on Twitter