May is Sex Ed For All Month, a widespread effort driven by groups of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations that are committed to making sure that equitable sex education is available and accessible to all. To close out the month, we’ve put together five things that everyone should know about sex:
In order to have a safe, and enjoyable experience, it’s important to know the sexual anatomy of your body and your partner’s body. While many of us have similar body parts, everyone’s sexual anatomy looks a little different, and that is completely normal. It’s also important to remember that a person’s biological sex or sex assigned at birth may or may not align with their gender identity.
For detailed information about biological female and biological male sexual anatomy, click here.
For information about bodies born intersex, click here.
To learn more about gender identity, click here.
Consent is Key
Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a sexual activity. Before being sexual with someone, you need to know if they want to be sexual with you too. It’s also important to be honest with your partner about what you want and don’t want. Consenting and asking for consent are all about setting your personal boundaries and respecting those of your partner.
Consent is as easy as FRIES:
- Freely Given
Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).
To learn more about consent and how to talk about it with your partner, click here.
Protect Yourself and Your Partner
Using protection is a great way to care for yourself and your partner. There are a variety of birth control options available to prevent pregnancy including condoms, the pill, the implant, and IUDs. Both internal and external condoms, as well as dental dams, also serve as a great way to protect against the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
It’s important to remember that anybody who has oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, genital skin-to-skin contact, or who shares sexual fluids with another person can get an STI. Getting tested and talking to your partner about getting tested can help your experience remain healthy and stress free.
Sex Isn’t a “One Size Fits All”
What works for one person, might not be enjoyable for someone else. It can be easy to expect a new partner to know what to do sexually. But they could end up doing something different, leaving you with mixed feelings. This is where communication comes in. Talking to your partner about your likes and dislikes and your boundaries can help you build a healthy relationship and a satisfying sex life.
It’s important to remember that everyone is different and likes different things. So, no matter how experienced a partner is or how long you have been with your partner, it’s good to keep the lines of communication open. Let your partner know what you like, what feels good (or what doesn’t), and things that you are and are not interested in doing. It’s also a good idea to talk to your partner about any birth control or STI prevention measures that may make sense for you in your relationship.
For information on how to communicate with your partner about sex, click here.
Resources Are Available
Planned Parenthood Health Educators are expertly trained to answer questions about all things reproductive and sexual health from contraceptive options to navigating confirmed consent and healthy relationships.
The Health Educators at Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties (PPOSBC) host a number of events and programs throughout the year crafted for different audiences including high school-aged youth, college students, professionals, and parents. To learn more, click here.
If you have questions, you can get quick answers from Planned Parenthood’s chatbot Roo, or connect with a Health Educator online here.
Additionally, the trusted providers at our Health Centers are always here to answer questions about reproductive health compassionately, and without judgement.
To make an appointment at your local Planned Parenthood, call (714) 922-4100.