By Mansi S. Mehta:
Editor’s note: Youth Ki Awaaz joins hands with the NalandaWay Foundation, founded by Sriram Iyer, to help break the silence around mental health, failure and suicide. Through Iyer’s book, “The Story Of A Suicide”, we’ll be talking about dealing with depression, loneliness, rejection, stress and various other issues that affect many of us, today. You can read the book here.
While discussing intimate physical relationships, consent is one of the most important things to keep in mind. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying ‘no’ to a physical relationship. Whether you are asexual, want to stay abstinent until marriage or simply not in the mood – you should feel comfortable communicating this with a partner. Communicating your desires does not only ensure a smooth but a very healthy relationship. Because in such an equation, both partners are able to express their feelings and respect each other’s boundaries about sex. You shouldn’t have to have sex to keep your partner. In fact, your relationship will be stronger if both of you can truly be yourselves both inside and outside the bedroom.
Here’s a list that might help you communicate your desires and guide you if you do not want to be physical in a relationship.
1. Many people feel nervous or awkward telling someone they’re not ready for sex or don’t want to have sex at a certain moment. It might be helpful to practice saying ‘no’ in front of a mirror or alone in your room. Also, try to sound confident in your decision.
2. If you don’t want to indulge in sex, communicate the reasons with your partner. You don’t owe someone an explanation for not wanting to have sex. However, if you’re in a relationship with someone it can be healthy to explain to them why you’re not in the mood. This can help your partner understand you and your sexual desires better.
3. Occasionally, people dislike engaging in sex because they don’t enjoy it. If you’re inexperienced, you may simply not know what does and does not work for you. Exploring your own sexuality can always help.
4. If sex is not as enjoyable for you as you would like it to be, try experimenting with your partner.
5. If you frequently find yourself not in the ‘mood’, check your medication because that can often affect sex drive. If low sex drive is a side effect, talk to your doctor about finding an alternative medication or lowering the dosage.
6. Talk with your partner about safe sex practices, like getting tested for STIs and considering birth control options.
1. Do not feel obligated to have sex. Sometimes people do, especially if they’ve already been engaging in activities that would typically lead to sex. Understand that no one is entitled to your body and that making out or otherwise fooling around doesn’t mean that you owe someone sex. Do not listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.
2. Don’t hesitate to communicate. Communication is of paramount importance in relationships.
3. Don’t give in to abuse. If someone won’t take no for an answer and repeatedly pressurises you, verbally, emotionally or physically, it can be a sign of abuse.
4. Don’t give in to ‘pressure tactics’. If your partner tries to threaten or pressurise you into having sex, it can be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Remember that you deserve better.
5. Don’t be dishonest. Be honest with yourself and your partner. If you are not ready, your partner should respect it.
6. Don’t cower in. You have the right to talk openly and honestly about your fears, worries, and feelings.
Deciding whether you want to have sex is a decision, you should make when you feel right about it. In a healthy relationship, your partner would always respect your decisions, even if he/she doesn’t like them.
If you have ever faced such experiences where you’ve been forced to have sex without your consent or seen someone you love, experience the same, do share with us. For all you know, you may be helping someone out there, deal with similar instances a lot better.
This post on talking about sex with your partner was originally published here.