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Scarleteen: Safer Sex… for your Heart pt.2

August 22, 2010

The Scarleteen article: Safer Sex… for your Heart, that I talked about in my previous post is about things that you should consider when it comes to your emotional wellbeing and sex, and since so many of the things mentioned in that article are always good to keep in mind, I thought I would post them here as a check list. This is a copy and paste job. For the original article click here. Credit goes to author Heather Corinna.

Do a Little Soul Investigating: Relationship Check List for your Emotional Wellbeing

Dishonesty and Secrecy Red Flags

  • Lying to parents, friends or family about sexual activities, experience or feelings, or hiding sexual relationships.
  • Engaging in sexual relationships “no one can know about,” such as because one or both partners already has another partner, or because one or both partners may be disapproved of by family or friends, or in GLBT relationships when one or both partners are not yet out.
  • Lying to a partner about sexual history, such as saying one is a virgin when one is not, saying one had been STD/STI tested when one has not, or stating one has had more or less past partners than one has actually had.
  • Faking or pretending orgasm, arousal or sexual interest.
  • Being dishonest about what one is seeking in the relationship, such as stating a relationship or hookup is casual or “only friends” when you want or feel far more, or stating a relationship is seriously romantic and intended to be long-term when you do not have those feelings.

You Might Want to Avoid…

  • Taking up with someone who already has a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse.
  • Becoming involved with someone when it is clear that at the present time, they are not what you want or need, are not emotionally stable or available, or simply do not “mesh” with you and your life as is.
  • Planning meetings with partners whose background you do not know, or whose identity you have not or cannot verify (such as people met over the ‘Net).
  • Dating a friend’s ex or crush without talking to that friend first.
  • Agreeing to relationship models or relationship “rules” that you know you can’t live with, or choosing partners whom you know have important things in great conflict with you (like a sexual orientation which does not include you, a religion which debases your own, a desire or lack thereof for children when you want the opposite, etc.).
  • Taking up a with a partner with whom you cannot assert yourself with or say no to readily.

You Might Be Walking Into a Bad Situation if…

  • You’re doing things you really don’t want to do and feel you have to, or pressing your partner to do so.
  • You’re engaging in high-risk sexual activities unsafely because you’re afraid or reticent to insist on safe practices.
  • You or your partner either do not or cannot talk about sexual activities (beyond talking about what you find sexy or arousing) and feelings in any environment.
  • You cannot talk about sex with some measure of objectivity, calm and honesty.
  • Either you or your partner cannot discuss, make and keep sexual limits and boundaries you each set, or that either of you doesn’t feel able to set boundaries at all.
  • You’re making excuses for doing things you either don’t want to do or don’t want to take responsibility for, or hold a partner responsible for, like saying oral sex “just happened” or that you “can’t help but cheat” on a partner, or that sex you didn’t want and didn’t consent to that your partner continued with anyway wasn’t “real” rape.

Conflicts to be on the Lookout for are…

  • Strong religious, cultural or family beliefs or convictions that sex for me, right now, is wrong.
  • An inability to take full responsibility for my own emotions, expectations and actions.
  • An inability to handle feelings of disappointment, confusion or upset.
  • Lacking an emotional support system outside one’s sexual partner.
  • Being or feeling unable to separate sex from love, understanding that sex cannot create love, but only express it (or not).
  • Being unable to keep from using sex to manipulate one self, a partner, or anyone else.
  • The inability to handle unwanted consequences of sex, or changes and complications it may bring about in a relationship.
  • Being unable to emotionally withstand and manage a possible pregnancy, disease or infection, or rejection from a partner.
  • Being codependent or hyperdependent on a sexual partner for constant reassurance, attention or self-worth.

Unrealistic Expectations and Scenarios

  • Sex cannot, by itself, give us self-worth, self-esteem or long-term positive body image.
  • Partnered sex cannot substitute for our own exploration or understanding of our own bodies.
  • Engaging in sex cannot give us reliable sex or sexual health information.
  • Sex in and of itself cannot provide love or emotional affection, friendship or emotional support or relationship commitment or security.
  • Sex cannot substitute for good communication.
  • Sex cannot magically turn anyone into an adult or a mature person.

Sex for All the Wrong Reasons

  • Being sexually active primarily because others around you are sexually active, and thus, you want to fit in, or because someone is pressuring you.
  • To try and fill a void as far as self-wroth, esteem or confidence with sex.
  • To try and “trick” or manipulate a partner into giving you something you want (such as a relationship commitment) with sex or the promise of sex.
  • To avoid being alone or to feel less lonely by having a sex partner or partners
  • To get attention from parents, friends or others, to make another person jealous or envious, or to force a reaction from someone by being sexually active.
  • To “prove” one is an adult to someone by showing one can have sex.
  • To create conflict or upset via sexual choices, activities or relationships.
  • To take a sex partner when one simply wants sexual release for themselves akin to masturbation.
  • To become pregnant without consulting a partner in an effort to try and keep that partner.
  • To find out, in action, if you’re ready for sex or not.
  • To “just get sex over with.”
  • To “prove” love or care to a partner, or to try and impress someone.

Relationship Check Up

  • Suffering from anxiety, stress or depression, or having unusual physical symptoms, such as stomach aches, insomnia, changes in energy levels or appetite, a sudden drastic increase or decrease in sexual drive, or other physical symptoms that are not caused by an existing condition or illness?
  • Putting other important relationships or goals of yours at risk because of your sexual relationship(s)?
  • Taking risks which put you and yours in a position of sexual, physical or high emotional risk, or feeling you must make many sacrifices to have or maintain the relationship?
  • Feeling isolated from everyone BUT your partner, or having trouble thinking of others outside yourself and your partner(s)?
  • Discovering that other important parts of your life are taking a backseat to your sexual relationship(s) or suffering (your grades, your job, your family, etc.)?
  • Feeling sad or upset with sexual relationships or encounters far more than you find yourself feeling happy?
  • Feeling you must keep sexual activity, tension or issues high and escalating to maintain the relationship, using sexual activity to avoid or diffuse relationship conflicts, or, finding that you are “zoning out” during sexual activity?
  • Becoming unable to be autonomous and have a life and sense of self independent of your partner or a sexual relationship?
  • Feeling bad about yourself in general, or specifically in regard to your sexual relationship or behavior?
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