Leisure

Navigating Dating

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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Dating and/or sleeping with a new person is exciting, but can be so hard sometimes! Let’s navigate the toughest obstacles together:

Does s/he have herpes? Seriously though, does s/he? It’s a bit unrealistic to be a “Let’s go get tested at the clinic together” vigilante about every single date you go on, though if you do manage this, movie-slow-clap-in-a-crowded-hotel-lobby for you. Otherwise, “When’s the last time you got tested?” or “Do you have any sexual health concerns to tell me?” are both reasonable questions and you just need to trust the answers. Or lead with your own sexual health self-disclosure, expecting the date to follow. Avoid judgmental terms like “clean”.

If you’re the one with an STD, especially the incurable, transmittable type, know your facts and your protection plan so you can negotiate how to proceed. Incurring or passing on serious sexual health risks in the name of unspoken social graces just isn’t worth it. And if you can’t talk about sex with your partner, you certainly shouldn’t be having it.

When are you going to do it? There are lots of dumb rules about when to “give it up:” Something about buying cows and giving away milk or something. Maybe you’re “supposed to” wait until the third date or maybe, just maybe, you have sex whenever it feels right for both of you. Getting hot and heavy on the couch really doesn’t “mean” anything until you ask if it does. You ask your date if they want to go out for Indian or Thai, right? Why should it be any different when it comes time to ask if they want to continue sucking face on the sofa or strip down and have some sex? Consent!

What happens when you’re actually having the sex? Permission’s granted. All systems are go. Many have an old faithful formula for how they have sex with another person. But everyone’s different! Your bedroom isn’t a McDonald’s drive-thru. The most satisfying sex is made-to-order—fresh. Ask for direction and, more challenging, encourage honest responses from your partner. Graciously accept tips even if they change things or contradict each other in the heat of the moment. Our preferred stimulation shifts as things get steamier. Don’t take it personally.

It’s okay if your instructions aren’t the clearest. It’s difficult to verbalize physical pleasure, especially if you’ve just starting to date again. Don’t know what to say? Give feedback to their improvisations. Non-verbal communication is an option (guiding their body parts here and there), but remember that the more specific you can be about what you like, the better the sex will be and the sooner you’ll become fluent in each other’s body language.

What about introducing your kinks? Unless you were both upfront about being freaky, take time to warm up to each other’s kink-less habits first. Put down a primer before throwing neon paint at that canvas and you’ll get a modern masterpiece. Past column “Working Out the Kinks” (August 30, 2012) has pointers on how to come out kinky.

Finally, the crappiest part about dating a new person has nothing to do with orgasms and everything to do with poop. Seriously. The lovely bodily functions of pooping and farting are as undeniable as they are unsexily inconvenient to the new dater. I recently tested this theory with some single friends who all had their own coping mechanisms. One runs her shower whilst going (so he just thinks you shower a lot without getting your hair wet?). Another takes an Immodium before every date (“God—I’m just blocked up for DAYS afterwards!”).

Another simply refused to allow it. “What do you mean you just refuse?” I asked him. He shrugged. “I just—no. No pooping,” My solution? Angelina Jolie. Kristen Stewart. Scarlett Johansson. Really sexy ladies. All of whom poop. I’m sure of it.

You’d think the hardest part about dating would be how to tell the date that your feelings for him or her have grown stronger. I’ll tell you how. Fart on his/her leg when s/he is spooning you. If date keeps spooning you and then asks you when and how you’d like to have sex, you’re golden. And if they don’t? Well, that’s just tough shit now, isn’t it?

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