Level 1: The Basics
If you’re having potentially reproductive sex (penis-in-vagina) and you are not interested in getting pregnant, choose a highly effective birth control method that suits you, whether its behavioral (withdrawal), hormonal (the Pill, etc), or barrier (condom etc). Hormonal methods are the most effective, followed by barrier methods, and finally behavioral methods. While the “perfect use” efficacy rate of abstinence is 100%, it has a real-world failure rate of 50%.
If you don’t know your partner’s history, or if either of you has a history that puts you at risk for STI transmission, use barriers (dams, condoms, Saran wrap, etc) or engage in behaviors that reduce the contact of one person’s genital skin and fluids with the other person’s genital skin and fluids.
The best bet is to give and receive EXPLICIT VERBAL CONSENT for everything you do with a sex partner. (“May I touch your breast?” “Yes please!” or “Would you kiss my neck?” “I would love to!) Sometimes nonverbal consent is clear enough, and if you feel uncomfortable saying the words, this can be a reasonable strategy until you are ready to use language. If you are not quite sure if you want something, or if you are not quite sure that your partner is into it, stop or else go very, very slowly. Most non-consensual sex happens when one person is oblivious to the other person’s lack of consent.
Sexual pleasure is as important to sexual health as preventing unwanted pregnancy, STI transmission, and non-consensual sex. The core of sexual pleasure is the ability to pay attention to the positive emotional and physical experiences during an interaction, while letting go of distractions, self-critical thoughts, and socially constructed expectations about sex. Obviously this is easier said than done. Mindfulness practice is the most efficient strategy to enhance sexual attentiveness, along with education from reliable, non-commercial sources.
Level 2: The Prezi
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