We all want to get swept away in the romance or passion of a new relationship, but allowing your body to make decisions without any input from your brain is, usually, a recipe for disaster. While it may seem like an outstanding idea to follow your heart (or other more influential body organs) after you hit it off on a date and decide to become more intimate, certain truths may surface in the light of day that make you regret ever having had sex with your date.
You may find out, weeks later, that your attitudes about sex differ greatly — perhaps he views it as a pleasant escape from reality, while you deemed it a heartfelt spiritual connection and the start of a serious relationship (or vice versa). Maybe he has zero intention of sleeping with only one person until he’s married, while you’d never dream of playing the field while you have working knowledge of every detail of another human’s naked body (again, or vice versa). Since sex can mean very different things to different people, it’s important to ask the right questions before doing it — it’s even more important to feel like you can ask any question you deem necessary.
“Most women fail to ask any sort of questions before sex,” says bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter. “Culturally, we’ve come to a time period being mute. In today’s world of open sexuality, sex comes first and questions come after the fact. This is the wrong order. In fearing our prospective partner may feel uncomfortable with being asked questions, women have learned to not ask at all. Why blow the glow? We fear we’ll come across as difficult, needy, or intrusive. Yet, all of the pain we experience is due to not knowing the type of experience we’ll have, nor knowing the man’s mindset and dating goals.”
Here are nine questions experts say are important to ask prior to sex.
1. Are you looking for a casual hookup or are you hoping that sex will lead to something more long term?
Save yourself heartache by knowing beforehand what your partner’s relationship plans are, says Astroglide’s Resident Sexologist Dr. Jess. “Many people make the mistake of acting first and discussing later, but because sexual values are highly variant (some see sex as a simple physical act and others value it as a means of connecting intimately) and deeply entrenched (we often assume others feel the same as we do) this can lead to confusion, conflict and hurt feelings,” Dr. Jess says. “You don’t have to engage in a long, drawn-out discussion to gauge how your partner feels and you can simply open the conversation by expressing your needs/desires.”
2. Are you married?
For obvious reason, you’ll want to know if you’re unknowingly agreeing to make yourself an accomplice in the ultimate act of betrayal. “Most people assume that they’re sleeping with someone who’s single, because they are, too,” says April Masini, New York-based author of four relationship advice books and the AskApril advice column. “If you’re not sure, ask. And if you don’t trust your answer, do a little online research.”
3. Have you been tested for STDs and when?
One of the first questions you ask should pertain to STDs. Even if your partner claims he/she has been tested and is clear of all sexually transmitted diseases, the results of a test can change with the person’s next partner.
4. Are you sleeping with anyone else?
Don’t assume your partner feels it is necessary to practice monogamy because you’ve had sex. If the act is merely physical to him, he may not be ready or willing to stop seeing other people — or sleeping with them. If that’s not your MO, find out where you stand before you have sex.
5. Do you have children?
If you’re heading over to his home and are not sure if he has children, Masini recommends getting your facts beforehand so that you don’t bump into his 7-year-old — or 17-year-old — while making a naked, middle of the night bathroom run.
6. Do you know my ex?
It’s a small world, one that seems to shrink even more when you become intimate with someone and later realize he knows 40 of your closest Facebook friends. “Stranger things have happened than sleeping with a great guy who you then find out is the first cousin of your ex,” Masini says. “Do a little geography socializing about who you both know before sleeping with him.”
7. Where do you work?
Again, the “It’s a Small World After All” principle can become a scary one when you realize you have colleagues in common — or worse. “You don’t want to have a wild night of sex and go into the office only to find your lover is your new boss,” Masini says. “Vet him before you sleep with him.”
8. Will you wear a condom?
Psychotherapist Kelly Kitley encourages us to set expectations about birth control prior to sex, which will ensure we don’t make poor decisions when passions are running high. “In the heat of the moment, partners often bypass this important component that helps prevent sexually transmitted diseases,” Kitley says.
9. How do you feel about foreplay?
Here’s one conversation you might actually enjoy having — one that can be a sexy turn-on and informative. “Attempt to talk about foreplay and/or sex before engaging in it to see how comfortable the person appears and/or their overall perception of sex,” Kitley says. “It could be an indicator of how he might be in the bedroom. Although, be careful he’s not too suave or bragging — that might be a sign he’s all talk.”