Sex, Choice, and Pleasure
Open communication about sex can be a turn on! How does it feel to talk with your sexual partner(s) about:
- What feels good for you and them?
- Sexual things that each of you want to do or try? Do not want to do?
- Ways to get and give consent?
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, getting tested, and safer sex - like condoms or PrEP?
- Pregnancy decisions and using birth control?
These conversations may be tough to start, but can be fun and sexy! Try sharing these questions with your partner(s). Don’t push yourself or your partner if it does not feel safe for either of you.
Is it your choice?
You should get to make decisions about your body. Has anyone ever:
- Pressured, guilted, or threatened you to do something sexual?
- Messed with your PrEP, birth control, or not used a condom or pull out when you asked them to?
- Messed with your medical appointments, medications, health insurance, or refused to get tested or treated for STIs?
- Made or pressured you to drink or use substances to hook up with you?
- Shamed you about your previous sexual experiences and choices, your body, or your kinks and desires?
- Pressured, manipulated, or forced you to have sex in exchange for something you want or need?
- Pressured you about pregnancy decisions--like pushing you to get pregnant or continue a pregnancy?
Ask a health provider about STI prevention strategies or birth control methods that are harder for a partner to mess with.
If you have been through things like this, you are not alone.
You are not alone
When someone pressures, hurts, or controls us, it can negatively affect our health, like:
- Make it harder to prevent or treat STIs
- Unwanted pregnancies
- Drinking or using drugs more often or less safely than you would like
- Make health issues, like anxiety or depression, worse or harder to manage.
Try talking to your health provider about what you are experiencing. If you have had bad experiences with healthcare, seeking care again may be hard. Remember:
- Answering questions or sharing something is always your choice.
- Your trust is something to be earned by your provider.
- Taking a support person to health visits may be helpful.
Helping a Friend
Are you worried about a friend being controlled or hurt? Try these steps:
- Tell them what worries you and that you care, without judgment or shame.
- Let them know you are there for them. Listen and believe.
- Give them the info described here and tell them about the resources below.
Confidential and free chat, text, call line provides support 24/7:
text “START” to 88788
Free, anonymous safety aid: myplanapp.org
Low cost healthcare and sexual health information: bedsider.org