Modern Sex & How To Navigate It

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Sexual Intercourse. It’s called many things, sex, the dance of no pants, riding, rattling, piping, the wonky donkey, shagging, the list goes on… Whatever you call it, there’s no denying it’s an ‘interest’ shared by many!! A hobby if you will!

Once there’s OMFG (ongoing, mutual, freely given) consent, and you keep it safe and healthy you can have lots of fun in the bedroom (or wherever you choose to Do it!).

Here’s some things you should know though. Sex changes depending on when you do it. Yes, sex changes as you get older. You get more confidence in yourself and what you like and do not like. Your less fumbly and embarrassed and it generally goes smoother than the first few times.

It also is different depending on who you do it with.  So, I am going to explore sex in three different aspects, relationships, one-night stands, friends with benefits / casual hook-ups.

One Off’s

I think there’s kind of a stigma to ‘one-night-stands’ or even just that phrase so let’s just call it a ‘one off’ instead. There’s so many reasons people enjoy one-offs. Sometimes we’re on a night out, we get sparks going with someone, lust and passion take over giving us that all-consuming fire in our loins and we rush off to get it on.

You wake up in the morning (possibly more sober than the night before);  maybe its awks as hell, maybe they don’t look at all how you pictured them the night before, or maybe the passionate feelings tricked you into thinking the sex would be amazing and full of fireworks but it more of a damp sparkler on a rainy night than a banger!! Or (insert your own reason here). On the flip side, it could have been absolutely incredible, full blown New Year’s Eve level fireworks display, but they’re just not what your looking for in a partner, or you just don’t want a partner right now.

Whatever the reason you have NO INTEREST in a repeat performance so it’s just a one-off.

That is TOTALLY fine. You don’t need to explain yourself or justify your choices to anyone. Sometimes its nice to look back on a one-off with fondness and think “wasn’t that a great night” or cringe with your mates for years with a “remember the time I copped off with a sponge”.

Friends with benefits and casual hook-up’s

I am grouping these two together because their similarities are more then their differences, and it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation sometimes! So look, here’s the scoop on the main differences. How you get to the occasional sex with the one person is the big difference. Sometimes what you thought would be a one-offer develops into a more-than-one-offer. Perhaps, they either start as a friend and it turns into something a bit more or they’re not a friend, maybe you actually even don’t like them but the sex is phenomenal so you do it frequently. Either way you reach a point where you are having booty calls with this person on the reg!

Some things to note, you may have seen that film “Friends with benefits”, but that’s a romance movie and while aspects of it ring true, (being comfortable enough to discuss what you want and how you want it without having to worry about offending them too much), bear in mind not all FWB’s are going to end in a proposal! In fact, more often than not it can ruin a really good friendship so decide wisely how to progress. Its not myth, its science that hormones and pheromones and all that jazz (I’m not a doctor can you tell?) are linked to sexual intercourse. Actually, its more closely linked to oxytocin and dopamine which are released during sex. Women generally produce more oxytocin which is also know as the love or cuddle hormone (facts!) while men generally release more dopamine also known as the pleasure hormone (facts!). Both make a person feel great however can you sense an issue here?? The brain doesn’t differentiate between a casual fling and say your soulmate, it responds the same way. So, while women are more likely to seek this same person to fulfil their desires, men are more likely to seek them (anyone) to fulfil their pleasure needs. Again, this is science not just opinion and its generalised not individualised. It is also more likely to cause problems wherein one person in the situation has male sex hormones and one has female.

In short summation I guess what I am saying is guard your feelings. Be honest and clear about what you want, with, at the very least yourself. If you start to develop the feels and the other person isn’t on the same page, maybe you need to put an end to the situation before you end up getting emotionally hurt.

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Ground rules can be a good place to start with these situations, don’t be afraid to have honest conversations with the other person and set out parameters for your triste. It will help you stay on the same page and make the sex much more enjoyable if you can have an honest conversation about it.

Some things you might want to consider as ground rules; Can you be sexing other people or just each other? Is it a private arrangement or can friends know? What protection are you both comfortable with? Have you up to date STI screenings? Do you text/ talk outside of arranging sex? Do you only hook-up weekends after the club or can either person suggest when they’re horny

Having a mutual understanding on these, and other areas, can really make things run smoother and avoid miscommunication and hurt feelings.

Relationships

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So, this kind of naturally follows on from the last area because yeno, the science stuff! You now have a basic understanding of how that works and how it can influence your feelings. Not to sound judgey but I think this is how the whole three date minimum rule must have come about. For those that aren’t familiar, that’s the idea that you don’t have sex with someone until you’ve had at least three dates with them. It possibly sounds incredibly old fashioned but thinking on the science of it, and just the science of it, I think it makes sense. If when you have sex, hormones are released that are going to make you more drawn to someone, it kind of makes sense to know them a bit first if you want a relationship.

Think back to my comment on amazing sex with someone you don’t even particularly like! Now imagine you didn’t know them as a person to know that you couldn’t stand them, but you have loads of sex with them and you both get the feels (from science ^) and end up in a relationship that’s doomed to fail because GUESS WHAT, you actually couldn’t stand them but your brain tricked you into thinking they were the perfect mate! Eeeeewww! **Shivers** We’ve all been there right?! No, just me? Moving swiftly on …
In all seriousness sex is generally at its best when its with someone you are in a relationship with, because, the science stuff makes you feel closer to them, yes true, but also, you are more comfortable discussing what you like, what you don’t like, both of your kinks, fetishes, fantasy’s (all the good stuff!). Maybe you get really aroused at a certain role play idea, your unlikely to blurt that out or prepare for it the first time you shag your new partner. However, over time you’ll discuss these things and try new things. And it doesn’t even have to be about handcuffs and whips (sorry 50 shades!) it might be as simple as positions you prefer, lights on or off, how often you do it, and those types of things.

Also, bear in mind if you are in a male/female relationship there’s a difference of approx.  6 minutes in the time it takes for men and women to reach orgasm through penetrative sex (again with the science, maybe I am a doctor!).  Plus, we all respond differently to stimulation on different areas of our bodies. So, it takes time and exploration to really reach your sexual peak with a partner. As was mentioned conversations can help speed up this process, and it’s much easier to have those tricky conversations with a partner as time goes on than with a one-off or casual arrangement because there’s more mutual trust and understanding.

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It’s important to keep the conversation going if you notice your sex life dwindling. Yes, things change and its unlikely you’ll be going like rabbits they way you are in start throughout your relationship, BUT, if there are issues starting to develop talk to your partner about it. It’s so much worse if your unhappy with your sex life and not discussing it. Maybe your partner is unhappy too (there’s a good chance). Maybe things just got a little stale. There’s no shame in admitting you both took your eye off the ball(s) (sorry cheap joke!).  Doing something about it is what’s important. Read up on spicing things up in the bedroom (link spuds article). Make time for yourselves, dedicate time just for yourselves. Going back to the science stuff, sex as we learned ^^^ can make us feel closer to the other person, if problems here aren’t worked on, it can result in a distance between yous in the overall relationship which can spark further and bigger problems over time.

**IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER**

Be safe. Just because they seem like prin(cess) charming doesn’t mean they’re not the prin(cess) of darkness! Avoid going off to places you are unfamiliar with especially with people you don’t know. If you are leaving with someone for a one-off let someone know who your going with and where your going. Be observant, if they tell you they live in Tallaght but they tell the taxi driver to bring you to Cabra, that’s dodge. Also take safety into account in the physical sense, they might be a prin(cess) now but maybe they kissed a lot of frogs to get that crown. In other words, mind your sexual health! Use barrier protection like condoms and dental dams for the most effective ways of preventing STI’s and STD’s.

Consent!!!
Why consent needs to be an everyday conversation
There is nothing sexier than active, OMFG consent. It doesn’t have to be a big deep awkward discussion that spoils the mood or gives you a reddener. Its simply checking in with yourself and the person your doing it with as you go. “Is this ok” , “do you like this” “are you comfortable with this” “do you want to go further” – are all the types of questions to ask yourself and the person your with as you move along. If it doesn’t feel right, its not right.

Remember you are not obligated to do anything you feel uncomfortable with. Maybe in the club you were hot and bothered and ready to rip their clothes right off there and then, but you get back to somewhere and all of a sudden you don’t really feel right about going all the way, maybe you’re ok with kissing but that’s it, or maybe you want to stop everything, THAT’S OK. You DO NOT have to go through with something out of duty, obligation, or a sense of “I started it, so I have to finish it”. Tell the person you’re with. Tell them what your ARE comfortable with or leave if that feels better. Also, maybe you feel fine with everything, you should still check in with the other person to ensure they are happy to proceed and they give their consent. There should be no grey areas with consent. It should be Ongoing, Mutual, and Freely Given. You can not consent if you are highly intoxicated. You can not consent if you are asleep / passed out. Even if you previously indicated you wanted to have sex or sexual activities, once you withdraw consent, get too drunk, or fall asleep, that no longer counts and anything from kissing to penetrative sex is against the law.

All of this consent information applies to all kinds of situations. From one-offs to lifelong relationships and everything in between, the law is the same.

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