Like it or not, when you get it on with people, you’re going to have to talk about it. This is especially true if there are quirks or nuances about things you like or don’t like. This is especially especially true if you have any triggers that could cause the hotness to derail.

Part of being a responsible sex-positive person is knowing that no one is going to read your mind. No one is going to “just know” that you like something or not, even if you have all the same equipment. It’s your job to speak up and share the stuff your partners need to know. This applies to STIs just as much as it does to things you really like.

Before you can tell someone what you like, you have to know what you like. At the very least, these are things you need to be able to communicate succinctly and straightforwardly:

“No” zones. Some people don’t like being touched in certain places on their bodies or in certain ways. If there’s a part of yourbody you don’t want touched, tell your partner up front.

Words to use/avoid. What do you call your stuff? If there’s a word that would freak you out or turn you off, let your partner know. This is especially important if using a certain word would be akin to misgendering you.

Bottom lines. If there’s a kind of touch that shuts you down or freaks you out, communicate that up front. Feet are a huge erogenous zone for some people and anathema to others. Likewise, spanking can seem innocuous to some folks, but it can be annoying, painful, or freaky for others.Know what you hate, and be ready to talk about it. But be careful not to judge other people’s likes. Don’t squick her squee!

STI status and protocols. You should share anything about your health that will directly affect you partner. This means  communicable STIs. You also want to share any rules for safer sex you have.

Turn ons/Turn offs. Will dirty talk make you giggle? Will hair pulling rev your engine? Let ‘em know. It’s just as important to share turn-ons as it is bottom lines.

Your identity is not a recipe. Butch bottoms exist. So do stone femmes, trans guy pillow queens, trans women who like getting blow jobs, dykes who sleep with cis dudes, monogamous kinksters, and on and on and on. Humans contain multitudes. Sharing your identity label doesn’t actually say anything about how you like to fuck. Just because you present a certain way doesn’t mean you’re giving clear signals about what you want done to you. Be clear.

As with any sexy communication the key is delivering the news clearly and frankly. You’re not telling your partner you have a month to live. You’re telling them what will make sex fun. Your partner probably doesn’t want to annoy you, trigger you, or turn you off. You both win if you’re upfront with this stuff.

It’s fair for you to feel annoyed sometimes by having to teach an intro class on your body. This is often true if you sleep with people for whom you are a “first” of any kind. (The number of bicurious but inexperienced girls I’ve slept with…Oof.) You get to decide if that particular person is worth the You 101 class. But getting the intro class out of the way is often the only way you can enjoy spring break.

And remember, you can’t teach a class if you don’t know the material. Explore, masturbate, experiment. Then give the your sweetie the map.

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