Alrighty, now if you’re expecting this to be a “Cosmopolitan” style article then you have come to the wrong place. I can’t take credit for these rules. I found them when reading “When Sex Hurts.” I could try to reword them, but honestly the authors did a great job! These “rules” are more like the boundaries which we should have been taught in sex ed. I’ll expand on each of the rules but please keep in my mind that these are my opinions.
There's just one more thing to go over before we get started. When I write "sex" I'm referring to any sexual activity with whatever partner(s) you have. That includes oral, anal, vaginal, sensual touching, etc. That's not a comprehensive list, so fill in with whatever floats your boat. Throughout the article I'm only going to use "you" and "your partner" because I believe these rules apply to you regardless of your gender or sexual interests.
1. Sex should not hurt.
Not for either partner (consensual BDSM is a whole other topic). I wrote a whole post about painful sex which gets more into this. This applies to every sexual experience. If you aren’t comfortable enough to check in with your partner during a sex act to make sure he/she is feeling good then you are probably not mature enough to be having sex. Harsh, but true. If your partner exhibits such behavior, do not “just put up with it.” Speak up! Often there is a quick fix like a change of technique or adding lube which can make a world of difference.
2. Sex should feel good.
Depending on your background and beliefs this may or may not be a given for you. But sex should not only NOT hurt, it also should be enjoyable! Odds are high that if you are trying new things you will find some which are not "doing it" for ya. (Pun intended!) That's okay and it's normal. There are so many things you could try and part of finding what you like is trial and error. You can try as many or as few things as you want. But don’t accept “meh” sex as the law of the land.
3. Sex should occur when and how you (both) want it.
I added the "both" in because sex needs to be consensual. You and your partner both have the RIGHT to change your mind about what, if any, sexual act you want to perform at any point in time. It doesn’t matter if you agreed to try something and now you're freaking out and changed your mind. Speak up and say so. Remember, your partner can do this as well, and you HAVE to respect that. If you have a problem with that, then you shouldn't be having sex.
Now if you want to try something new then talk to your partner, don’t just assume he or she will be ok with trying it. On the flip side, if you partner wants to try something at least be open minded enough to talk to him or her about it. Don’t freak out and start trashing their idea. Remember, that person is putting themselves out there in the first place. And you wouldn’t want him or her to react like that to you. It doesn’t mean you have to try that idea, but be a grown up about it.
4. Sex should be part of a healthy relationship.
Researchers are constantly learning more about human sexuality. It’s been a topic of fascination for years (shoutout to Freud). But what we do know is that sex is natural. If you're following the first 3 “rules” then you are on the right track. As far as the specifics of what/where/how often, etc… That’s between you and whomever you are with! If the two of you are happy and communicating openly then it doesn’t matter what society or anyone else has to say about your sex life.
5. Sex should not be the centerpiece of a healthy relationship.
Now this rule applies to long term, monogamous relationships. Some relationships are purely sexual, and again, if both partners are aware and happy with this arrangement then keep on keepin on!
As for the other folks? Sex matters and it’s certainly been able to destroy relationships. Dr. Phil and other psychologists (and memes) have made this pretty clear. You can watch any romantic comedy or sitcom these days and find examples of couples who try going long term and fail because they don't have anything in common. Relationships are tough but it helps to have one which is founded on mutual interests, values, and goals.
As you get to the end of this, I genuinely hope that none of it blew your mind. That means you are aware of these fundamentals, and hopefully following them! What do you think of the rules? Would you add anything else? Comment below!