There are as many different definitions of what constitutes healthy sex as there are people having sex. There is no one-size-fits-all definition.
Whether you’re in a relationship or enjoying a sexually interesting single life, you deserve to have relaxed, enjoyable, connected experiences without fear, shame, or judgment. You deserve to be present in your body and with your partner.
Sexual expression gets confusing (and even aggravating) when you’re dating and not sure how the person you’re spending time with feels about you or what’s expected of you. Some men and women want to explore the sexual connection early as a way to determine compatibility. Others feel they’ve been burned by this approach; they thought a hookup was a stepping-stone to a relationship – until one partner or the other lost interest. Obviously, communication about wants and needs is essential.
They key is this:
Healthy sexual expression means being able to say, “Yes” when you feel safe and comfortable having sex and being able to say, “No” when you don’t.
Many women struggle with how to say no because they’re afraid they’ll lose a man’s interest. Owning your no — and him hearing your no and respecting it – is actually one of the most empowering things that can happen, sexually-speaking!
If you’re not ready for sex with him right now (but might be open to it when the time is right), here are some ways to say no that are clear without killing the vibe:
1. Be honest and straightforward. No wishy-washy language.
2. At the same time, it’s OK to be vulnerable. Reassure him that you’re attracted to him, he’s a great kisser, etc. Let him know that the delay is about your values and your commitment to yourself, not a rejection of him. You can still communicate “sex is important to me” with your words and actions and let him know it’s on the table… in the future.
3. Distance yourself from him a little. Shift your body weight or pull away a bit to put some space between you.
4. Use chill, matter-of-fact tones and make kind eye contact. Deliver your message with a calm, warm (not sexy) voice and express appreciation for who he is, what a fun date you had, etc.
5. The fewer words the better. Some women feel the need to apologize but it’s not necessary. Believe it or not, there’s something inherently, well… sexy about being a woman who is self-possessed enough to own her sexuality!
Remember: Even if you’ve had trouble saying no in the past, you can create a new habit.
Great sex with the right partner and the right timing is the kind of sex that fills you up and makes you feel expansive, more alive, and more vibrant. I’ve coached plenty of women on how to channel their goddess energy into a rich satisfying sex life… but I’ve also coached plenty of women who wondered if they would ever learn to enjoy sex or know a “normal” sex life. I’ve coached women who were having the kind of sex that left them feeling depleted, empty, anxious, and ashamed.
For most women, sex is a part of a healthy enduring relationship. They find that having honest vulnerable expressions about sex results in more confidence, more intimacy, and a sense of greater stability with a partner. It also results in a higher level of trust and an expanded sense of freedom and couple-efficacy. With “sex glue” bonding you, you feel more assured that you can handle tough things as a couple!
Whether you’re in a relationship or going solo, don’t shy away from having an honest (if not awkward) grown-up conversation about how, when, and where to have sex. When you do, you’ll show up as a more attuned and present partner.
Stay true to your self and respect the boundaries, desires, and values of both yourself and your partner. Then you’ll truly be in the perfect position to have a healthy empowered sex life!