Sex Resolutions for the New Year—Part I

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As the oh-so-complicated year 2018 comes to a close, many of us are resolving to make 2019 a better one. The most common resolutions for last year were to eat healthier, get more exercise, and save more money. While these are all admirable goals, it’s interesting to note that sexuality didn’t even make it to the top ten.

Here are some suggested resolutions regarding your sexual behavior in 2019—specifically, what you should promise yourself to NOT do. Tomorrow I’ll suggest resolutions for what you SHOULD do in order to make sex more enjoyable and more in line with your values.

Happy New Year.

I will not fake orgasms
Why do people do it? To end the sex; to make their partner feel adequate (or prevent him from feeling inadequate); because they’re ashamed to admit they haven’t climaxed; to prevent a partner’s anger or criticism.

Yes, men fake orgasms too, and for the very same reasons. The alternative for everyone:
1) Be honest about your experience, including “I’d like to stop now.”
2) Keep orgasm in perspective: it’s not the most important of sex, and it’s entirely possible to feel satisfied without it.
3) Remember that your orgasm belongs to you, not your partner. If he or she can’t feel adequate with you climaxing, that’s their problem, not yours.

I will not take contraceptive risks
There are a million unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. every year–one of the most astounding sexual statistics there is.

Science has brought us many reliable methods. These methods are safer than ever (none of them “cause” cancer). Condoms allow for more pleasure than ever. And sterilization may sound harsh, but it’s a great way to be honest with yourself and take control of your life.

Of course, there’s only one sexual activity that can lead to pregnancy. When there’s no birth control available, one of the many other kinds of sex will do just fine.

I won’t have sex when I’m drunk, or when the other person is
Driving when you’re drunk is a bad idea, right? Your judgement is impaired, and your body’s ability to carry out your brain’s orders slows way down. Those are also two good reasons to not have sex when you’re drunk.

The choice of whom to have sex with, when, and how, is quite serious. Don’t make this decision when you’re drunk. And your body’s sexual reflexes (such as erection and orgasm), along with the motor coordination of your hands, mouth, and elsewhere become quite unreliable when you drink a lot.

Very few people say “the sex was glorious—we were so drunk we hardly knew what we were doing.” What can seem like a great idea before you start can become a bad idea very quickly.

Sex with a drunk person? Do you really want to trust their judgement, their ability to control their fingers, their memory of what happened, and the meaning they give to the event afterwards? That’s a lot of power to give to a person who can’t even drive.

And if you actually want the other person drunk because that’s the only way they’ll agree to have sex with you…there are things you need way, way more than you need sex.

I’ll say no if I mean no
Yes, of course more people need to understand that no means no. But too many people are still too ambiguous—they say no with a joke, or say ‘not now’ when they mean ‘no way’, or they try to talk someone out of wanting sex.

I understand that a simple, direct no can feel awkward—but it’s absolutely essential if you want to be taken seriously. And it’s an investment in our culture’s evolution about the nature of consent.

I won’t share nude or erotic photos of anyone without permission
In a world where people get famous for tweeting about their latest meal or instragramming themselves in their underwear, the definition of privacy seems to have changed.

But for various reasons, for many people there’s still a line: share a picture of me making a funny face, OK; share a picture of me nude, not OK. and of course employers, college admissions programs, and juries make a very big fuss about such photos.

Of course, why people are taking pics of themselves or allowing others to do so is a subject scholars will continue to debate for a long time. But someone’s questionable judgement about themselves, or their trust in you, doesn’t create permission to hurt them. That’s the “if you leave your car unlocked it’s your fault if I steal it” argument. No, it’s not the fault of the person who took the pics or allowed them to be taken.

And if you take the photos/videos without the other person knowing it, shame on you. That’s simply theft. And the law is perfectly willing to punish you for it.

I won’t self-diagnose as having ED/Erectile Dysfunction
Every day, people go to the doctor and say “my leg hurts.” Almost no one goes to the doctor and says they need a cortisone shot, a nerve induction study, or a hip replacement.

And yet people come in to me every day with their own self-diagnosis: ED. Well, the average lay person isn’t in a position to do that. What most people really mean when they say they have ED is ‘I don’t get erect when I want to.’ Or ‘he doesn’t get erect when we want him to.’

Yes, of course that’s frustrating. But it might not be ED. The problem often is the expectation—wanting an erection when you’re drinking. Or when you feel pressured. Or when you’re not attracted to the person you’re with.

By all means, go to a physician or sex therapist if you don’t get erect when you want to. But don’t assume your penis (or vascular system) isn’t functioning properly.

I won’t promise my partner that I won’t use porn unless I really mean it
It’s surprising how many women demand that their mates give up porn forever (or, I suppose, until she dies). While this dynamic generally hides another, deeper one, people can want and ask for whatever they wish. The problem is the number of men who agree to give up porn (or support their partner’s delusion that they don’t watch)—and then do it furtively.

When a guy then gets “caught” watching porn, his porn-watching usually isn’t the problem—his deception about it is. Once you break a promise, you cede the moral high ground, and you can’t justify it by saying that watching porn is benign. Your partner will respond “it doesn’t matter, you promised not to.” And she’s absolutely right.

Of course, discussing this honestly in advance—she doesn’t want him watching porn, he wants to—can be painful, and some women actually make this a deal-breaker. Regardless, better to confront this earlier in a relationship, when the stakes are lower. And better to confront this as equals, rather than as one righteous person and one lying, cheating, loser who can’t be trusted.

I won’t ghost anyone that I’m in contact with
Really—a three-minute awkward conversation (or a one minute text) is a small price to pay for behaving with integrity. Isn’t that how you’d want someone to treat you?
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