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Ask Willow: Safe sex

Illustration by Rachel Edelstein

The Oak Leaf Staff

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Dear Willow,

How do I ask a new sex partner about their sexual history and request safe sex practices?

-Safe Sex

 

Dear Safe Sex,

Don’t shy away from bringing up this conversation with any sexual partner. It’s very important to know if a potential new partner is clean of STDs and STIs whether or not you choose to practice safe sex.

Discuss this in a comfortable setting in person and preferably away from others in case you or your partner are uneasy about disclosing intimate information in public. Avoid bringing this conversation up in the heat of the moment because it could just blow the mood altogether and you may not get an honest answer.

Lay out your likes and dislikes, and don’t feel afraid to request for certain actions to be or not be performed during foreplay and intercourse. Boundaries are okay. If your partner doesn’t accept that, don’t settle for their mistreatment.

Always remember to receive affirmative, enthusiastic consent before engaging in any form of intimate activities. Respecting consent can be a huge turn on for some people, and it’s appreciated when someone takes the opportunity to assure your comfort.

If your partner chooses not to use contraceptives, ask them why. Don’t give into the old, “But it feels better without a condom.” The “pull-out” method isn’t a safeguard against pregnancy and is definitely not effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

If you’re into the kinkier side of sex make sure you establish a safe word. Be careful when experimenting with different forms of edging, like erotic asphyxiation, for they can potentially lead to death if executed incorrectly.

Happy sexing!

Willow

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Ask Willow: Safe sex