Whether it’s a one-night stand, a group event or slow, deep love with a life partner, sex can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it is what everybody wants. You. Her. Him. Them. Everyone. Because, big picture, it’s best with a healthy dose of respect - which involves setting boundaries and sticking to them. And they can be as broad or as narrow as you like, as long as they also feel good, safe and sexy.
During sex, we’re potentially at our most vulnerable, powerful and alive. So the feelings you have before, during and after matter - because you’re dealing with something fundamental: who you really are.
Have you ever watched the face of someone having an orgasm? It’s a moment of surrendering ourselves and letting go. That often means being naked not just physically but emotionally too. We’re raw. It means we bruise easily.
love you long time - or just for half an hour?
Boundaries create a context for your sexual encounters – so what sort of context do you need? One of honesty, trust, security, love, calm or just deepest, darkest desire? Perhaps you need a relationship – marriage maybe? Or simply a great smile, two pints and some promising body language?
It’s up to you to decide what’s acceptable to you and some or all of the following questions may apply:
- How do you want to be spoken to?
- How close do you want to be – how much personal space feels right?
- How do you want to be touched?
- Where do you want to be touched (your environment as well as your body)
- Do you want full sex, just kissing or something in between?
- Are you even ready for physical contact right now?
And your answers are likely to change depending on your energy levels, mood and confidence (which can vary minute to minute!).
This means that certain broad brushstroke boundaries can be set before sex (No anal sex for example), but others can be added in or taken away as you go along, provided you know how you’re really feeling as events unfold and you don’t lose yourself in the heat of the moment.
This is one big argument for not drinking too much beforehand. Booze makes it much harder to stay in tune with you. And feel stuff. And tell someone what you want. And reach an orgasm. And potentially remember it in the morning or feel great about what happened the night before…
why do we lose our boundaries?
Low self-esteem lays behind many a sexual misadventure. When you value yourself and your body, nothing and no one is going to make you risk physical or emotional hurt. But if you need validation from someone else to prove you’re worth something, you’re more likely to do what they want and compromise yourself. Boundaries often disappear long before the underwear.
SETTING BOUNDARIES isn't always easy
Take a step back and some time to get to know yourself or that other person better, enough to be able to stand up for what matters to you, simply and clearly.
Your pace is the right pace for you. If it doesn’t suit someone else, that’s about them.
When sex goes bad, the impact on your confidence, happiness and sense of self worth can be huge - and I’m not even talking about rape or sexual assault, which is often the wilful violation of someone else’s boundaries. Seemingly small communication failures can result in big emotional injuries.
can you handle the no?
These are not good feelings and it’s easy to blame the other person for making us feel them, rather than owning them and looking at ourselves to see where they come from and why. Those feelings can make it harder to accommodate someone else’s boundaries when they don’t dovetail neatly in with our own wants and desires.
Creating a relationship where NO isn’t a criticism and you both feel able to say it without fear of hurting the other is a great place to be. When NO is part of your vocabulary it means you also have a YES you can both trust – the green light, full steam ahead, let’s get it on consent from someone who is genuinely willing to do THAT with YOU! Brilliant!
tell it WITH LOVE
One way of doing this is to check in with each other on a regular basis if you’re not sure. Is this OK? Do you want me to carry on? If the answer’s Yes, the teasing and tantalising nature of those questions as you pause, mid flow, can be irresistible (Yes, yes, yes – don’t stop!) But equally, you create the space for someone to slow things down, change tack or take a breath if that’s what is needed.
Another way to lessen the blow of the NO to differentiate between the person and their actions: “I’m not saying I don’t want you – I just don’t want to do that.” It’s not personal. Tomorrow, you might want to do whatever it is more than anything. Or you may never want to. Either is fine.
Respecting someone’s boundaries means allowing them to be who they really are, without pretence. And if you don’t like it, that’s something for your to negotiate perhaps with them to find a happy middle ground, but most importantly with yourself.
If you’d like to, feel free to share your thoughts below.
* IMAGE FROM PINTEREST