The ins and outs of negotiating sex with your partner - In Real Life

The ins and outs of negotiating sex with your partner

Are things heating up between you and your partner? Are the texts getting flirtier? Do you find yourself getting a little closer, or sexier than usual? Being able to have an open and honest conversation about sex with your partner is just as essential to sex as condoms or foreplay.


Consent is when one person agrees or gives permission to another person to do something. Consent is yours and yours alone to give when it comes to sex, and that goes for both partners. Questions you might want to ask yourself before deciding to give consent are:

  • Am I ready? Am I emotionally and physically ready to be sexually intimate with my partner?
  • Is this legal? The legal age to consent to sex is 16.
  • Will my partner understand if I change my mind and don’t want to do it?
  • Can I openly tell this person what I want to do, what feels good and do I feel comfortable enough to speak up if something hurts or isn’t what I want?
  • Do I feel safe?
  • Am I ready to listen to my partner and ensure they feel safe too?
  • Do I really want to have sex or do anything sexual with this person?

If you answer yes to all of the above, great! It’s time to begin the conversation with your partner. If you’re unsure or hesitated when answering the questions, then that’s cool too, you might just have a bit more thinking to do.

If you answered no to these questions you may want to talk to someone for advice, particularly if you don’t feel safe or if your partner is forcing you to do things you don’t want to do. Kids Help Line 1800 551 800 is available 24 hours and is completely confidential.

What you both want

There are lots of different ways to have sex.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation and the whole point is feeling comfortable enough with your partner to tell them what you want – you never know what someone’s into unless you ask. It’s also okay to express to your partner if you don’t feel comfortable doing what they’ve suggested. Negotiate what you’re both comfortable doing, without pressuring or being pressured to do certain things. Also, you may say yes to something and then change your mind and want to stop and that’s okay too – your partner must respect your decision.

If you don’t feel ready for one type of sex yet, you might consider other ways to express your affection that you’ll both enjoy. Snuggling, kissing, and dry humping are all great ways to get up close and personal, show affection and express your feelings.

Communication all the way through

If you’re ready and sure that you want to have sex with your partner, the first thing to tick off your list is an open and honest conversation about sexual health. Are you both aware of the risks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how to prevent them? Have you and your partner been tested recently for STIs? If there’s a potential health issue that you know about it, you can both make an informed choice about what to do next.

If you’re in a girl/guy relationship, it’s important to also discuss preventing unplanned pregnancy. Although condoms are a form of contraception, you may want to consider also using another, more effective, method of contraception at the same time as using condoms for added protection.

It can be hard to start this conversation but it’s important to ensure you both enjoy your sexual experience. Try to talk when you’re both alone and have some time to discuss without interruption.

Make sure you know who’s bringing the condoms to your meet up, or make sure you both always have some on hand. You could also go shopping for condoms with your partner.

Pleasure for all

The first time you have sex together, things might not be as smooth as a scene with Dan and Serena but if you keep an open mind and a sense of humour, it can still be a great time. The trick is to keep the conversation open, remember to use one of those condoms you bought earlier, experiment with what you feel comfortable doing, and keep it fun for the both of you!

Find more tips on relationships and consent here as well as confidential services you can contact if you have questions or need to talk.

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