Questions You Should be Asking Your Sexual Partners
5 min read
by Sandy Sanchez | August 06, 2020
Before starting anything in life, it’s good to ask questions. This applies to skydiving, pottery, getting an apartment, and of course, sex. Especially the person (or people) you will be having sex with.
Being honest with your sexual partner(s) is key, and vice versa. You want to feel confident and comfortable before getting it on. Sometimes it can feel intimidating to ask these questions, especially with newer sexual partners, but it’s better to have these convos upfront rather than later! Whether these are for a casual partner, a new relationship, or just to further sexual intimacy in general, here’s some of the questions you should be asking.
“Do you want to have sex?”
Never assume. Always ask. If it’s not a yes, then it’s a no! Asking for consent is the most important question to ask any sexual partner. It makes everyone feel comfortable and above all, feel respected.
This Q applies to all forms of intimacy. Asking someone to have “sex” isn’t always so literal — check in about all kinds of intimacy. People can’t blanket consent to all sexual content, it’s a case-by-case thing! So make sure to ask for consent before making any kind of move. Can I hug you? Can I kiss you? Can we cuddle? Can we have sex? By asking these questions, you’re creating a safe space for everyone involved.
“When did you last get tested?”
People often struggle to ask this question but it’s time to get rid of the stigma. Maybe you think it’s awkward bringing it up or you’re assuming they’ve gotten tested. But why not talk about your favorite shows and the last time you got tested? It’s the responsible thing to do! You and your partner’s well-being depends on it. Plus, the more transparency, the better.
Around 20 million new STD transmissions occur in the US every year alone, and half of those occur in people between the ages of 15–24. It’s recommended that people with vaginas get a Pap test once every three years and STI tests at least once a year. For all people who are sexually active with multiple partners, it’s recommended to get tested every 3-6 months.
So rather than assume your partner has already gotten tested, open up the conversation! It can be as easy “so just for transparency, I got tested a month ago and I’m clear. What about you?” or “I’m currently seeing a few other people but I always use protection and recently got tested. You?” If your partner isn’t being transparent back, maybe it’s time to rethink sex with them or prioritize barrier contraception.
“Do you use protection?”
Re: STIs and pregnancy. Before going at it, make sure you’re having safe sex. Condoms? Birth control? Don’t let anyone pressure you into not using any protection.
There’s a correlation between having multiple partners and getting an STIs but here’s the thing: have sex with as many people as you’d like as long as you’re using protection (and having sex with people who are also game for protection).
Remember, only barrier methods such as condoms can protect you from STIs. And if you do decide to forego contraception with a partner, it should be an exclusive partner with whom you’ve both shared your test results with. And if you are having reproductive sex (and don’t want to get pregnant!), think about exploring long-term contraception.
A PSA: There are (mostly) men out in this world who “don’t like condoms because they can’t feel anything.” Red. Flag. Get. Out. If they’re not down for protected penetration, then it’s not worth it.
“What are you comfortable with? Anything you want to try?”
Having great communication with your partner also means better sex. The more you get to know each other, the more confident you’ll feel to try new things in bed! Everyone has different boundaries and preferences, so asking them what they’re comfortable with is a great way to learn more about them.
And this opens up a fun and sexy convo. Maybe you’ll discover they’re into roleplaying and you’ve never done it before, but you want to try it! Or you really want to use your new toys and didn’t know how to bring it up. Or maybe you’re both curious about bringing more people into the picture.
Putting your fantasies out on the table (or bed) opens the door for more sexual adventures that you’re both comfortable with. And this way, you’re not doing anything you don’t want to do just to please someone else.
“What are you looking for?”
This is not an easy question. Feelings are v hard! Sometimes we end up in “situationships” unsure of where it’s headed. But even if it seems scary to have this convo, let your feelings be known. Know what you’re getting yourself into to prevent from getting hurt (or hurting someone else).
Whether you want a one-time thing, a monogamous relationship, a friends-who-have-sex thing, or an open relationship, talking about what you’re looking for prevents any miscommunication.
Knowing if they’re sleeping with other people is also good info to have when it comes to having safe sex. And remember, it’s okay if your feelings evolve over time. You may want to see them more often, or you may not want to see them anymore after all. These convos can be awkward, but as long as you’re maintaining open communication, everything will be okay.
“Podcasts or books?”
Getting to know a new sexual partner is exciting. In addition to questions about the bedroom, try asking them about their favorite music, their first concert ever, their hobbies, their pets, their turn-ons. You can learn a lot from someone by asking them fun questions — and who knows, maybe it’ll help you determine if this is someone you really want to do more than have sex with.
When it comes to sex, there’s no such thing as TMI. Every question is valid and v important! What’s one question you’ve asked a sexual partner that you’re glad you brought up?
by Sandy Sanchez