Casual sex can be fun and liberating, but sometimes it leads to negative feelings of regret. A recently published study examining this phenomenon discovered that there are two specific types of sexual encounters that predict regret: engaging in sex with someone known less than 24 hours, and having sex with someone only once. One night stands and hookups are an absolute blast, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. It’s important to take a step back to think about how you’re feeling, rather than marginalizing your emotions to live in the moment.
Barbara Lee, author of the book Sacred Sex: Replacing the Marriage Ethic with a Sexual Ethic, coaches organizations and people all around the world in making healthy sexual choices, and says there are seven basic questions you should take the time to ask yourself before deciding to jump into bed with someone. Here are her suggestions:
1. Do I really want to do this?
We face a variety of different forms of pressure to be sexually active that can range from not wanting to seem like a prude to not wanting to upset your partner. You should never do anything you don’t feel comfortable with.
2. How do I feel about myself right now?
We all have moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. Sometimes it’s easy to think that having sex with a willing partner will help to make us feel better about ourselves. The problem with looking to others for validation is the potential to be hurt.
3. How do I feel about my partner?
When we have sex, there’s still a potential for vulnerability. It’s important to know what you expect from the encounter, and you feel about your partner. What do you really want from this sexual experience? What do you want from him (or her)? It’s also important to know what this means to your partner. It’s important to communicate and make sure you two are on the same page, and have the same understanding about your relationship.
4. Is my partner my equal?
We all find ourselves attracted to people with more or less power than we have. It can be a boss, an ex – but sometimes having sex with an unequal power distribution can result in someone feeling taken advantage of.
5. Am I being responsible?
It’s so important to take necessary precautions not to spread sexually transmitted diseases or get accidentally pregnancy. Safe sex is important for your health, plus, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself more if you aren’t worried about the odds!
6. Am I just as interested in my partner’s pleasure as my own?
Sexual intimacy is a gift that is fun to give and receive. When you both share your genuine desires, needs, and responses with each other sex becomes liberating and more enjoyable. If you’re only interested in your pleasure, maybe you should take another look at your motives for having sex.
7. Will this make me happy?
Sex is great! It should bring feelings of happiness and contentment rather than guilt and remorse. It’s important to have a firm grasp on your beliefs. If what you’re going to do will make you feel bad about yourself, don’t do it! Sexual activity is always your choice.
Although these basic questions might seem unnecessary, sometimes it’s better to project and think about what you’re doing rather than examining negative feelings in retrospect. If you’re not that into your partner, or make a decision to hook up that’s motivated by insecurity, take a minute to step back. Remember, self-love is important, and it’s not that hard to invest in a good vibrator!
What do you think of Barbara Lee’s tips?