We're happy to present this excerpt from one of our favorite sites, YourTango. Today we have Essence Relationships Editor Charreah K. Jackson answering your burning sex questions.
Despite the awkwardness that can come along with having "the talk" with your partner, weighing birth control options can go a long way in making you feel more empowered in the bedroom. For starters, taking charge of your sexuality is pretty sexy! Bedsider.org's goal is to provide medically accurate info that is honest and unbiased so women can find the method of birth control that's right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively.
Here, Essence Relationships Editor and Certified Family Life Educator Charreah K. Jackson makes the case for why forgoing intimidation when it comes to birth control and intimacy will be beneficial for you both in the long run.
1. Talking about birth control with your partner is awkward! What's the least cringe-worthy way to approach the topic?
Charreah K. Jackson: Talking about birth control doesn't have to be awkward. Have the conversation before you hit the sheets. Over dinner or on the phone, discuss sex, pleasure and contraception with your partner. Share what you both like, and also discuss your protection preferences. The best sex can occur when both partners feel comfortable and connected, and aren't stressed about unplanned outcomes. Check out 5 tips to talk with anyone about birth control.
2. Do you recommend having the conversation prior to becoming intimate for the first time?
Charreah K. Jackson: Unless your partner is like this guy, contraceptive choices are often brought up by the woman. I absolutely recommend discussing contraception with a new partner before your first time together. Having sex with a new person can have both of you a little more nervous as you discover another person's body and desires. To bring up birth control in that moment can add unnecessary additional stress, so find a time to bring it up before entering the bedroom. You can also brush up your own knowledge on birth control options–you might be surprised how many there are!
3. Some guys are infamous for the "but using a condom doesn't feel as good" line. How do you respond?
Charreah K. Jackson: Condoms have evolved tremendously and can actually add to your sexual experience instead of taking anything away. When your partner complains about condoms, remind him there are many different kinds including some that you can barely feel like Lifestyles SKYN and Magnum Thin. There are also many textures, tastes and brands to discover through sites like condomjungle.com and luckybloke.com. Not only do condoms keep you safe, but they can also provide lubrication and a quick clean up if you decide to be more adventurous or get it on in the park this summer. And if size is his issue, remind him no guy is too big for a condom — you just have to find the right one! If your partner continues to complain about condoms after trying different ones, discuss your comfort level for other contraception, including the female condom (which also protects from STIs). If you decide to use a birth control option that does not protect from STIs, a monogamous commitment should be made and STI test results shared. Consider the exploration of birth control a part of your sexual journey as a couple and not just a means to an end. Discussing birth control with my boyfriend has produced many laughs and brought us closer.
For four more sex questions and answers, head over to YourTango: Do You Have To Tell Him Your Real Number?
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