Spring break is almost here, and whether you’re planning on going on an influencer-inspired vacation or relaxing at home with a spring break movie marathon, there are some things you should keep in mind if you’re planning on having sex — especially with a new partner.
We talked to three sexual health experts — Cheylsea Federle, Education & Training Coordinator at
the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health; Sam Wall, Assistant to the Director at sex education site Scarleteen.com; and Fred Wyand, Director of Communications at the American Sexual Health Association — about how to have a safe and sexy spring break. Above all, remember that consent is mandatory, communication is necessary, and sex should be fun and enjoyable for both you and your partner. Remember that consent is a conversation.
All three experts emphasized that establishing that
everything you’re doing is consensual is absolutely mandatory — and you should be checking in with your partner throughout the encounter. “The way I like to think about consent is it’s not just about permission; it’s an ongoing conversation, and you're continuing the conversation with your partner as you’re having that sexual interaction,” says Federle.
Wall suggests keeping in mind that if you’re
having sex with a new partner, “you haven’t had time to become attuned to their nonverbal cues for ‘I’m uncomfortable’ or ‘yes, I like that, keep going’ the way you might have with a long-term partner.” This means that “checking in before, during, and after sex, while always important, is extra important during one-time casual encounters.” illustrated by Paola Delucca. Be mindful of your and your partner’s drinking and drug use.
“When it comes to mixing alcohol and other drugs with sex, my advice is: don’t,” Wall says, pointing out that legally, “any alcohol consumption makes consent anything from automatically questionable to outright impossible.”
However, she adds, “Realistically speaking, we know people can and do have mutually consensual, non-sober sex,” and
if either you or your partner are drunk or high, “clear verbal consent is a MUST, not a maybe, and ANY indication someone is simply wasted, or isn't aware or alert or all-there should be a stop sign, no argument.” illustrated by Paola Delucca. Or, better yet, wait until you’re both sober.
Wall says that
sober sex means . “We encourage people to think of all the ways in which sober sex allows for a more enjoyable experience, both physically and emotionally,” she says: communication is easier, you’re more likely to be mindful of risks and practice safe sex, and “alcohol in particular can reduce arousal, vaginal lubrication, and make it harder to orgasm.” better sex
Instead of hooking up with a cutie when one or both of you are drunk, she suggests, “if someone catches your eye while one or both of you is intoxicated, consider opting to swap phone numbers and meet up the next day. If you meet up and are still feeling attracted to, and comfortable with, them then you can talk about whether some serious sexytimes are in order and what those times will look like.”
illustrated by Paola Delucca. Plan ahead.
If you’re planning on having sex during spring break — or even if it’s a possibility —
prepare in advance. “Make sure that you have condoms beforehand, rather than, in the heat of the moment, starting to think about it then,” says Wyand (the same goes for dental dams and lube, too). If you’re on a form of hormonal birth control like the pill, make sure your prescription is up-to-date, but keep in mind that while hormonal birth control helps prevent pregnancy, it doesn’t protect against STIs.
And if you’re planning on having sex during spring break,
get tested beforehand, says Wall. “ The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be able to keep yourself and any partners you have safe.” illustrated by Paola Delucca. Use lubricant — lots of it.
“Don’t underestimate the importance of using a lubricant,” says Federle, adding that the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health motto is “If you think you’ve lubed enough, lube some more.”
She adds that during spring break, you might get
dehydrated — whether because of the sun, because you’re drinking alcohol, or because you’re not drinking enough water — and dehydration affects the vagina’s ability to produce natural lubricant. However, oil-based lubricants aren't safe to use with condoms or other latex barriers, so choose a water- or silicone-based lube instead. illustrated by Paola Delucca. Sex on the beach might not be as great as it sounds. Sex on the beach might be a hot idea, but really consider the risks before making it a reality. “If sand is getting into the vagina or anus, there could be certain infections that could come of that, and certainly a lot of irritation,” says Federle. If you do have sex on the beach, she says, take precautions and bring a blanket (and be mindful of public nudity laws). illustrated by Paola Delucca. Have fun.
“Sex is good, it’s healthy, it’s pleasurable,” says Wyand. “It’s something to be embraced and celebrated, absolutely.” Talking about
safe sex and consent isn’t meant to “put a damper on it or be like ‘Now, children,’” he says. “It’s really that this will actually help someone thrive in their sexuality, and experience it more fully in a richer way — and not only have more sex, but also better and more satisfying sex, and healthier sex.” He adds, “We want people to be as empowered and healthy and safe as they can be, so they can enjoy their sexuality and enjoy sex throughout their lifespan.” illustrated by Paola Delucca. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Promposal Pros Share Their Advice On How To Ask Someone To Prom 4 Questions To Ask Yourself If You Think You're In A Toxic Relationship
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