Accidental Assault, Due Diligence, and Consent

Here’s a question that someone sent to me that is definitely worth asking: Is it possible to accidentally sexually assault someone? My short answer: yes. And I think there’s a lot to say about this. Learning Consent One of the biggest difficulties when we’re talking about sexual assault and consent is the question of what

Intentions Don’t Matter: On Making Amends

I’ve been thinking a lot about intentions and amends lately, for a variety of reasons. I’m now firmly in my early 40’s and I’m able to look back on some of the patterns of my life. I’ve also had several conversations lately with different people about the processes of apology, amends, and reconciliation. And the

Sex-Positivity, Setting Boundaries, Hearing Boundaries

One of the biggest sticking points in sex-positive communities is that there’s a pattern of not don’t openly acknowledge the ways in which sexual intrusion, assault and trauma shape sexuality. Discussions of sex-positivity rarely include what it means to live in a world in which effectively every woman (both cis- and transgender) and many of

Boundaries vs. Ultimatums

One of my Facebook friends posted a question recently that I think has a lot to do with sex: how do you differentiate holding non-negotiable boundaries from issuing ultimatums? This is one of those tricky questions that gets to the heart of relationships, communication, and (by extension) sex. On some level, both boundaries and ultimatums

Thank Your Partner

In both my personal and professional life, I’ve noticed that a lot of people drift into treating their partners and family members with less care than they treat friends, acquaintances and strangers. The saying “familiarity breeds contempt” comes from one of Aesop’s fables, in which the Fox gradually became so used to the Lion that

Polyamory Isn’t An Alternative to Cheating

Every so often, I see an article or hear someone who says that polyamory is an alternative to cheating. In my opinion, that’s mixing apples and oranges. Polyamory isn’t an alternative to cheating, it’s an alternative to monogamy. So are swinging, having a triad, polyfidelity, open relationships, a single person having multiple partners, and other

Unavailability Isn’t the Same as Rejection

There are a lot of reasons our sexual desires and interests don’t always match up with those of our partners. Changing tastes, medical or mental health challenges, busy work schedules, stress and juggling different demands, and simply having different libidos can make it hard to find a common ground. In both my personal life and

When Men Say No To Sex

I got a text from a guy I know about a challenge he’s facing: How do you deal with turning down a woman you’re not interested in sex with? At first, this might seem like the answer is obvious. Just say no, right? But there’s a lot more to it than that and it’s worth

I’m Not Easy. I’m Selectively Convenient

One of the things that often surprises people is the fact that being queer, kinky, and poly doesn’t have to mean that someone is promiscuous. “Promiscuous” is such an interesting word. My dictionary has two definitions for it: having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships demonstrating or implying an undiscriminating or unselective approach; indiscriminate

How To Disclose A Possible STI Exposure

Talking about sexually transmitted infections can be tricky. Most of the time, sex educators focus on how to have the conversation before you have sex. Reid Mihalko’s safer sex elevator pitch is a really good format for that: Reid’s Safer Sex Elevator Speech Write down your answers for each and then try it out on

Using Your Words, Offering Appreciation

Ever since my post about resentment, I’ve been thinking a lot about why so many people allow resentments to build and what we can do to avoid them. And it seems to me that one of the easiest things we can do is to tell the people in our lives what we appreciate about them.

Resentment: The Biggest Relationship Killer

The other day, I was interviewed by a reporter who asked me what I think the biggest challenge to sex in a long-term relationship is. I suspect that she was expecting me to say something like keeping the passion alive, or finding new things to try, or even that old standby, communication. But I think