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December 2016

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Bad Sex Sucks

Let’s face it, bad sex sucks!  There are no two ways about it.  You know that awkward, uncomfortable feeling that comes over you afterwards.  You know it was bad.  Your partner knows it was bad, but you don’t want to say anything to offend your partner.  So you just pretend everything is normal. That is until you leave or they leave and then you replay it in your head and cringe, laugh or a combination of the two.

So why do we have bad sex?  The answer is at our fingertips.  We all have a sexual fingerprint.  What is that you may ask?  Just like our fingerprints on the pads of our fingers are unique identifiers (that is why the police take them when we have been bad),  our sexual fingerprint is our own unique sexual identity that is different from everyone on the planet.  So with each of your partners coming to the table (or the bedroom, or the floor, or the shower) with a unique sexual fingerprint you are bound to be incompatible with a few.

One’s sexual fingerprint can be made up of many different factors from how you were raised and taught about sex by your family, sexual education classes, religion, past experiences, past trauma, habits, norms, turn-ons, turn-offs, fetishes, books you read, movies you watch, products you buy, kinks, body image, head space, other things going on in the relationship and the list goes on and on.  When you meet someone for all those factors (or a majority) to line up can be a bit of a hit and miss.

But what about people who are in long-term relationships? People often speak about the sex going from phenomenal to failure.  There can be a number of reasons for this.  The most common are that initially you had the excitement and emotion tied up with sex and things were new and exploring together was an adventure, after a while that naturally tapers off.  Secondly, is that we evolve sexually, so what does it for you today may not do it for you in a year, or a month or a week or even tomorrow!  Now multiply that by two (or however many partners you have) and that can be a recipe for bad sex.

I was recently talking with a friend and she shared that when her and her partner first were together the sex was amazing and exciting and they explored and experimented and now the biggest turn on for her, the thing that would get her in the mood for hot sex, would be her partner doing the dishes.  This is just one example of how relationships evolve. To have or to maintain sexual compatibility with someone takes work.

Chances are if you have had sex you have had bad sex, and if you continue to have sex you will have bad sex again.  It doesn’t matter who you have sex with or how you choose to express yourself sexually, if you are gay, straight, lesbian, or bisexual we have all had bad sex and it sucks!  For more about bad sex I invite you to visit http://www.BadSexSucks.com read some stories, leave some stories and have a laugh or two.

Remember there is no right way.  There is no wrong way.  There is just your way and that is ok.

Dr. Stephen de Wit is a Toronto sexologist and sexual communications coach. Stephen is on a one man mission to ensure that everyone lives the sexually empowered existence they want.  He has completed his Doctorate of Human Sexuality and focuses his energy on keynotes, workshops, seminars, writing and media appearances always with a fun, interactive, high impact approach.  For more information visit www.drdewit.com.

My Man Doesn’t Want to Have Sex

He doesn’t love me anymore!  He is cheating on me.  He has an STI. He is addicted to porn. I am not attractive enough.  Why doesn’t he want to have sex with me?  Many women have had these questions eat up their head space while they desperately try to recreate the sexual connection they once had with their partner. A sexual connection with someone is very important – no one is denying that.  However, the pressure that we put on each other to maintain that level of intimacy, intensity and interaction in and of itself can choke out the very thing we desire.

So what do you do when your man does not want the sex that you once had, the frequency, the type, the duration?  What do you do?  Let’s first start off with what you do not do, as these common pitfalls often make the problem worse.  Please do not let your imagination get the better of you.  The evolution of someone’s sexual appetite is natural and normal.  We have been made to believe that sex is static but really it is part of the fluid evolution of a person.  We will all change and evolve.  What turns us on today may change in a month, or a year or tomorrow.  What is important is to be able to grow and change with your partner.  Seek to understand what is going on for them before expressing your desire to be understood.

Let’s face it sex is a sensitive subject.  No one likes to hear that they are not satisfying their partner’s expectations.  But the reality is between two people there are often times of uneven sexual desire.  What does this mean?  Well it means that you and your partner are human.  We are not sex robots that are programmed to have amazing sex all the time.  It means that there is an opportunity to build understanding and intimacy in the relationship, to really understand what is going on for your partner.

The social script that we read and act out says that men should always want sex, should always be able to get and achieve erections and should be able to satisfy their partners.  Well I hate to break it to you…this is not the case.  I can speak from personal experience and from talking to many men, there are times that we do not want sex, and there will be times that our erections do not occur on command nor do they last as long or as hard as we (or our partners) would like.

Why is that?  So the easy answer is that there is no easy answer.  What I often encourage people to think about is their alignment of the head, heart and crotch.  If one of those is out of alignment then there could be a change in your partner’s sexual pattern.

So what to do? Hey here is a surprise if you have read any of my previous articles: talk about it!  Forget about what you think sex should be or what it was.  Too often I find people trying to recreate a past sexual encounter with someone.  Hey guess what?  You won’t get it.  It is like trying to catch a Unicorn.  What I encourage people to do is to forget about the past, look to the future and create something new, something different, something better.  Don’t look back, look forward.

Second suggestion I give to people is to expand their idea of what sex is.  If sex to you has meant penetrative penis/vagina sex until orgasm with a little oral foreplay, you may want to explore other ways of sexually connecting with your partner.  I recommend including your partner in this process.  Do not go out and buy a sex book and then surprise them by try something new.  Talk to them about it and have them pick out a book with you.  You must connect with your partner from the beginning.  It is important to develop a feeling of a new adventure, exploring and expanding your sex lives rather than “fixing” it.  Remember nothing is broken it is just evolving.  Remember there is no right way, no wrong way there is just your way and that is OK!

Stephen de Wit

Dr. Stephen de Wit is a Toronto sexologist and sexual communications coach. Stephen is on a one man mission to ensure that everyone lives the sexually empowered existence they want.  He has completed his Doctorate of Human Sexuality and focuses his energy on keynotes, workshops, seminars, writing and media appearances always with a fun, interactive, high impact approach.  For more information visit www.drdewit.com.

The Powerful and Provocative Sexualization of Words: Slut, Easy, Whore, Loose

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By Stephen de Wit

“Slut, promiscuous, easy, whore, floozy, tramp, dirty, hussy, ho, loose”; take a moment, think back to the last time you used any of these words.  Why did you use them?  Were you happy?  Were you supportive?  Or were you angry and upset and used them in a damaging way?  My guess would be the latter.  As a society we have used individuals’ sexuality as a weapon against them.  Women are often the ones who are injured by these words.

Why are they so damaging?  If we look at our use of the words, they are usually used on someone who is more sexually active than we are. Does that make them a bad person?  Why is someone who has lots of sex bad? It is time to reclaim and celebrate our sexuality.

The international phenomenon that we now know as “Slut Walk” (that was proudly started in Toronto) has raised the awareness of the word “slut” and women are taking a stand for the word and their sexuality.  Here the double standard wall of sexual acceptability between men and women is crumbling.  I once heard that a slut is a woman with the morals of a man – interesting concept to think about.

Let’s look at some other words that we use all the time, but we really don’t know their origins or their true meanings:

Masturbate – comes from the Latin “Manus Stuprare”, meaning to defile or violate with ones hand.  How about trying “pleasure myself”

Intercourse – means an exchange of thoughts or feelings between two or more people.  So shouldn’t sexual intercourse be the exchange of sexual thoughts or feelings between two or more people. I wish there was more sexual intercourse in the world.

Make love – really?  Do you always make love?  Do you always need love to have sex?  Or sometimes do you want to #$*k?

Lover – again love is entangled into defining someone who you have sex with.  What do you call that person?  I recently came across the term “pelvic affiliate”.  Try that one next time you are introducing your “lover” to your friends.

Lost your virginity – to lose something is a bad thing.  To gain something is a good thing.  How about “gained sexual knowledge”, or “gained sexual freedom”?

Giving orgasm – I often hear my partner “gave me an orgasm” or my partner “didn’t give me an orgasm”.  Since when is your orgasm someone else’s responsibility?  If your partner is “giving” it to you whose orgasm is it?

Penetration – how about engulfment?

These are just a few ideas to think about and see if they work for you.  Our language is woefully lacking in words and terminology that accurately captures and expresses the complexities of what sex is, how we feel about it and what it means to us.  I encourage you to find words that work for you, or make new ones up.

Take ownership of your sex life by choosing carefully the words you use to describe yourself sexually.  Be careful of the words you use to express your anger because in someone’s eyes even you are a slut.

There is no right way.  There is no wrong way.  There is just your way and that is OK!

Stephen de Wit

Dr. Stephen de Wit is a Toronto sexologist and sexual communications coach. Stephen is on a one man mission to ensure that everyone lives the sexually empowered existence they want.  He has completed his Doctorate of Human Sexuality and focuses his energy on keynotes, workshops, seminars, writing and media appearances always with a fun, interactive, high impact approach.  For more information visit www.drdewit.com.

“I Caught Him!”: Watching Porn

By Stephen de Wit

You come home from work early.  You wake up to get a drink of water.  You are using his laptop.  And you find out he is cheating on you, not with another woman, but with porn!  Your brain kicks into overdrive. I am not good enough, he does not think I am sexy, I do not satisfy him sexually, he is a pervert, he is addicted to porn! STOP!  Over the years many women have approached me with this concern.  I do my best to listen to their fears and insecurities and provide them with reassurances and some tools to move forward.

The most common question is why?  I love this question as it is impossible for me to answer.  Many people come to me as a sexologist and ask me questions about their partner.  News flash, your partner is not here so I cannot tell you why he watches porn, wants to spank you, likes dressing up a chicken before you have sex, sucks your toes etc.  What I can do is help you understand how it impacts you.  Sex is a unique expression of oneself it can change with each partner and with each experience.  Let me pull from my professional and personal experience of why men watch porn when in relationships, in an effort to normalize it and make it easier to for you to talk to him about it.

1)  It is a private fantasy, different from his current sexual reality.  Please note, I did not say better but different.  You know that thing that you think about when you are alone bringing yourself pleasure – ya that one – well he has just found his online.

2)  It is faster and takes less energy.  There is nothing wrong with this, it’s just a reality of our busy lives.  He knows what he wants, when he wants it and the pressure, pace and presence of mind to take him where he wants to go.

3)  He is curious.  With the proliferation online porn there is vast access to different ways people express themselves sexually.  He may want to know what it looks like and possibly, if you don’t make him wrong for it, share his curiosity with you.

4)  Just for the sheer physical release of it.  There is no emotional, psychological, spiritual connection.  And there are no pressures or expectations from a partner.

Do not get me wrong I am not saying that all porn is good.  Like all things there is bad porn and good porn but that lies in the eyes of the beholder.  Sure the “Porn Prophecies” as I like to call them, be better, bigger, longer, harder, tighter, fitter with a hyper focus on spectacular genital friction can skew our expectation of ourselves and others.  However, the vast majority of porn is of consenting, enthusiastic people doing things they really enjoy.  And if you like it and it turns you on great!

So what do you do?  Get curious!  Seek to understand why your partner watches porn before you seek to have your partner understand how that makes you feel.  You will be surprised at how developing an understanding of your partner’s motivation can change the way you feel.  Most often it will have less to do with you and more to do with them.  If you care about your partner wouldn’t it be a good thing to know more about them?

Get good at having awkward and uncomfortable conversations.  You know that lump you get in your throat, stomach or heart when you think about having that conversation with your partner. Yep, that one right there, well go with it.  Try, “Honey, I love it when you get turned on.  I noticed that you were looking at some interesting sites, would you be willing to talk with me about it?” And see where that goes.

Be forewarned, you may or may not like what you hear or see.  However, you will have a better understanding of your partner, yourself and your relationship.  And hey you might even find something that you like.  Do a Google search on female friendly porn on your own.  I am not sure what that is as what turns one woman on will be completely different from the next but it is a start.  I also recommend for those drawn more to the written erotic word Literotica http://literotica.com/stories/index.php.

So relax, porn can be a healthy part of your partner’s relationship with themself, your relationship with yourself and your relationship with each other.  It is finding what works for you.  Remember, there is no right way, no wrong way, just your way.  And hey it’s ok!

Stephen de Wit

Dr. Stephen de Wit is a Toronto sexologist and sexual communications coach. Stephen is on a one man mission to ensure that everyone lives the sexually empowered existence they want.  He has completed his Doctorate of Human Sexuality and focuses his energy on keynotes, workshops, seminars, writing and media appearances always with a fun, interactive, high impact approach.  For more information visit www.drdewit.com.

Hot Sexting Tips

Sexting is hot! From naughty words to saucy pics, smart phones can pack as much erotic power as our traditional battery-operated devices. And though this techno-sex behaviour is low risk in some respects (STIs, unintended pregnancy), it carries a unique set of risks with regard to personal disclosure.

Here are some tips for hotter, safer sexting:

Don’t show your face.

You’re gorgeous. But you don’t want that beautiful face attached to your super sexy body to be plastered on every social networking site around. Photos and videos can go viral and reach millions in a matter of minutes, so shoot from the neck-down.

Take close-ups.

This is a great way to keep your partner-in-sexting guessing as well as help disguise your identity. I have clients who go has far as adding fake tattoos to disguise their photos, as you can never be too cautious.

Ask first.

Sending unsolicited sexts is tantamount to harassment, so ask your flirty friend if they want your pics before you send them. Permission can be sexy, so use your imagination and be seductive and playful.

Leave something to the imagination.

If the first pic you send is a hot shot of your entire body or genitals, you leave no space for build-up and anticipation. Move gradually and make sexting about teasing, so that the grande finale is even hotter.

Clean up your room!

If you’re taking pics in your bedroom at least feign good hygiene by hiding the mess in the background. Nobody looks hot in front of a half-eaten pizza and dirty socks strewn about the room.

Don’t use emoticons.

Want to ruin a perfectly hot sext like “I want to taste you”? Add an animated winky face to expertly kill the mood.

See? You’re definitely not in the mood now thanks to that little yellow circle.

Emoticons are not sexy. Period.

Expect that the photos will be leaked.

Obviously you should only send pics to those you trust, but it’s better to err on the side of caution since sometimes our most trusted lovers can later turn into our arch nemeses. Maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but you get the point: only send pics that wouldn’t ruin your career (or your life — more melodrama here!) if they were hacked or leaked onto the Internet.

Double-check before you send.

Most people in your contact list have no interest in seeing photos of you in various stages of undress. Ok. Maybe they are interested, but you’re likely not open to sharing these sexy photos with the whole lot of them, so be sure to double-check your sender field before you hit “Send”.

This double-check needs to be increased to a triple-check if you’re under the questionable influence of alcohol while sexting, as we all know that booze and phones can make for an explosive combination.
Dr. Jess (Jessica O’Reilly) is a sought-after sexologist with a PhD in human sexuality. She maintains a private practice in Toronto and travels the world to teach workshops that promote healthy and deliciously pleasurable sex. From hosting a reality show on PlayboyTV to coordinating retreats in the sunny Caribbean, she relishes in every moment!

The Better Sex Diet

Can you eat your way to a better sex life?

Combining food with sex may sound too good to be true, but new research suggests that a little erotic nutrition may be just what the doctor ordered.

Don’t worry about shucking those oysters, as a Canadian review of 150 international studies found that a few simple spices may enhance sexual performance and satisfaction. Small amounts of saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, can be easily added to a healthy chicken curry or quick couscous dishes to improve overall sexual functioning.

Other spice rack staples like cloves, sage and nutmeg may also enhance sexual stimulation and they’re quite versatile working well with everything from healthy vegetables to rich and comforting mac n’ cheese dishes. Yum! And though the lab experiments with these three spices with rats have yet to be replicated in humans, I’m now beginning to understand why sage seems to fly off the shelves at my local grocer…somebody has been doing her research and stocking up for a rainy day!

For an oral approach to boosting your libido, you may also want to check out the muira palma plant and the maca root, which apparently help to increase desire in both men and women. Korean ginseng may also be worth a shot, as it is linked with helping to relax the smooth muscle tissue associated with erections and heightened sexual satisfaction.

If you’re looking to have a bit of fun with everyday foods, you may want to play with peppermints for their cool tingly sensation, whipped cream for the sake of its sweet, delicious mess and chocolate, which is associated with elevating your mood and improving blood flow. As if we need another excuse to eat chocolate.

But do beware of the hype and marketing around “natural” products: the finding that the traditional aphrodisiac Spanish fly (made from blister beetles) can be lethal is a reminder that “all-natural” is not necessarily synonymous with safe or healthy.

Until next time, here’s to happy and healthy eating in the name of great sex!

Dr. Jessica O’Reilly is a board-certified sexologist committed to helping clients enjoy healthy, pleasurable sex lives. She has completed her PhD in human sexuality with a focus on training teachers to deliver effective sex education. She loves her work (obviously!) and splits her time between public speaking engagements, freelance writing, program development and consulting in the field of sexual health. Learn more at www.jessicaoreilly.com

Sexually Transmitted Infections 101

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By Stephen de Wit

What would happen if you were the “I” in STI?  As in “I have one!”  How would you feel?  How did you get it?  How do you tell other partners? What would you do?  Who would you tell?  Where would you go to get treatment?  These are just a few of the questions that I am sure would be racing through your head.  Oh the horror, the shame, the guilt… relax.

There is a huge stigma associated with STIs. Why?  Because STIs are associated with sex.  We have been taught to view sex in 3D’s – dangerous, degrading and dirty, so when you are diagnosed with an STI all that practise safe sex training comes back full force.

Think about it, equally debilitating/troublesome infections/diseases are not seen in the same light as STIs because they are not transmitted sexually.

In this article I will address the basic STIs and provide you a few helpful hints and tricks to keep your sex life healthy and humming.

First off let’s break down the most common STIs:

Gonorrhea – curable through antibiotics.

Chlamydia – curable through antibiotics.

Syphilis – curable through penicillin.

Herpes – there is no cure but there are anti-viral medications that help reduce the symptoms and speed the healing.

Genital warts (HPV) – there is no cure, although there are treatment options to remove the warts, from liquid nitrogen to Trichloroacetic acid.

Hepatitis A – usually clears up by itself and does not require treatment.  A preventative vaccine is available. Check with your doctor next time you are in to see if you have immunity.

Hepatitis B – there is no cure.  There is a preventative vaccine available.  Check with your doctor next time you are in to see if you have immunity.

Hepatitis C – it is treatable and treatment can help, up to 60 per cent of people get rid of the virus.  No vaccine is available.

HIV – there is no cure.  However, drug advances make it possible for people to live a long, healthy and productive life.  HIV is no longer the death sentence it was twenty years ago.  It is similar to having diabetes as regular blood tests are done (every three or six months to test your viral load) and drugs are taken daily.

Here are some important things to remember when thinking about STIs:

If you have had sex without a condom and you are concerned or the condom broke or slipped off, get to your nearest sexual health clinic or doctor.

The sooner you are diagnosed the better.  Do not wait to see if it goes away by itself, often the symptoms do disappear but you are still infected and can infect others. The longer you wait more complications may arise and it may be more difficult to treat.

Often you can be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms), however, you are still infected and can infect others.  Get checked.

It is important to note that none of the above infections bring an end to your sex life.  However, there may be a period of abstinence while the infection clears up and new ways you will have to learn to manage your sex life, safely.

You can have Gonorrhea and Chlamydia in your throat from unprotected oral sex, in your vagina from unprotected penis/vagina sex and an anal/rectal infection through unprotected anal sex.

Once you have contracted an STI and treated for it, you can be re-infected.

Sex toys can also carry STIs, if you do share them…simply put a condom on it!

If he says he always uses a condom with other partners, don’t be fooled.  Hate to burst your bubble but you are not that special.  If he is not using a condom with you, he is not using it with other people.

It is not the number of sexual partners that you’ve had but rather how you have sex with those partners.  If you are using a condom you are good to go.  Studies have been done to establish what would be more effective at reducing the rate of STI transmission, decreasing the number of partners or increasing the rate of condom usage. Guess what technique was more effective…you guessed it using condoms.

If you are located in the GTA or surrounding areas and want more information about STIs, I recommend the AIDS and Sexual Health Info Line 416-392-2437.  And if you are looking for a non-judgemental and sex positive sexual health clinic, I recommend the Hassle Free Clinic http://www.hasslefreeclinic.org/.

This article was created to provide you with some basic understanding surrounding STIs.  More to come in future articles, like you have tested positive for an STI how do you tell your partner? Yikes!   I will also explain how to assess sexual risk in your decision to practice safer sex.

Remember there is no right way. There is no wrong way.  There is just your way. And hey, it is OK.

Stephen de Wit

Dr. Stephen de Wit is a Toronto sexologist and sexual communications coach. Stephen is on a one man mission to ensure that everyone lives the sexually empowered existence they want.  He has completed his Doctorate of Human Sexuality and focuses his energy on keynotes, workshops, seminars, writing and media appearances always with a fun, interactive, high impact approach.  For more information visit www.drdewit.com.

Making Long Distance Love Last: Sexting, Webcams and More

While long distance love may make for lonely nights and the need to keep a few extra batteries on hand in the nightstand, living and loving from a distance is a common arrangement in the modern, globalized world. As more people connect through online dating, new relationships are often separated by hundreds of miles from the onset. And though the distance may prove challenging at times, smart couples are taking advantage of all that long-distance love has to offer.

On the plus side, absence not only has the potential to make the heart grow stronger, but it can also make the libido soar. While intimacy may be cultivated through comfort and closeness, raw sexual desire is often fueled by unpredictability, risk and the unknown. So sex in long distance relationships can be very hot — as long as you don’t let a little space get in the way.

Phone sex, Skype sex (hooray for webcams) and sexting are not only the perfect foreplay to let the tension build until your next in-person tryst, but these forms of safer sex can be more than satisfying on their own. Once you get pass the awkwardness of learning the lingo of a little dirty talk, phone sex provides the perfect opportunity to let down your guard, forget about any body image issues and allow your imagination run wild. If you’re uncomfortable with full-on phone sex at first, you can start with some sexy phone flirting and work your way up to mutual masturbation and over-the-airwaves orgasms.

Sexting also provides a titillating prelude to later in-person or on-camera hook ups. To protect yourself when sexting or emailing sexy pics, never include your face in any photographs and bear in mind that there is always a risk of unintended exposure when you send anything electronically. Close-ups of body parts can make for hot messages while ensuring enough distortion to protect your identity. And be sure to double-check the sender’s phone number before hitting send, because once you do, there is no going back. Aunt Enid definitely doesn’t want to see a close-up of those.

Do bear in mind that anything you send via email, text or other social media network will be eternally published in the online world, so there is always risk in electronic flirting. One of my clients who is an avid sexter taught me this trick: add a temporary tattoo to your body when you take close-up pictures. If anyone were to come across the photos, no one will suspect you since your tattoos don’t match!

Since meaningful relationships are about more than just sex, open communication, honesty, trust and emotional check-ins can also help your love to continue to grow from a distance. And while planning for a future in which you’ll likely live in closer proximity is exciting and relevant, try to spend some of your time enjoying the present and embracing the unique exhilaration of longing for your love.

Until next time, have fun, experiment and always practice safer sex.

Dr. Jess (Jessica O’Reilly) is a sought-after sexologist with a PhD in human sexuality. She maintains a private practice in Toronto and travels the world to teach workshops that promote healthy and deliciously pleasurable sex. From hosting a reality show on PlayboyTV to coordinating retreats in the sunny Caribbean, she relishes in every moment!

Should You Have a One-Night Stand?

That depends. Do you want to? Research suggests that around half of Canadians have engaged in a one-night stand while the other half has not. So there you go. You’re normal either way. You should never feel pressure to do something because you think everyone else is doing it or you feel the need to check off that box on this month’s sexuality survey. Trust me, you’re not a “prude” just because some magazine sells ad space by dichotomizing women into virgins and whores. You can be as intensely sexually empowered when you’re abstinent as you are when you’re hooking up with new partners on the regular. Only you can determine what is empowering for you — sure experts like me might be able to help along the way, but ultimately, you are the greatest expert in yourself. So take some time to think about what you want and why you want it — and now let’s get back to one-night stands.

A one-night stand is suppose to be a casual hook-up between two consenting adults looking for nothing more than a single night of pleasure with no strings attached. It’s actually not all that complicated as long as you stick to this definition. If you’re secretly looking for love, hoping for more or making decisions based on a few too many apple martinis, you should probably play it safe and head home solo no matter how horny you might be. But if you’re just looking for a good time, a little release and some (hopefully) fun sex play, then you may very well be on the right track. Before you get started, however, there are a few other things you should consider.

First, you need to think about your safety. If you’re going home with someone you don’t know, there is always some degree of risk. Make sure a responsible and sober friend knows exactly where you’re going, who you’ll be with and what time to expect a check-in. I know some women who actually ask to see a driver’s license (with name and address) before going anywhere with a new partner. And don’t forget to check-in! The last thing you want is the cops banging on the door while you’re getting frisky because your responsible friend held up his/her end of the deal while you were too busy playing doctor.

As with all sexual encounters, one-night stands should involve the use of protection (condoms, dental dams and lube) each and every time. Be prepared with whatever supplies you need and avoid getting drunk or high, as this can impede judgment, increase risky behaviours and make you a generally sloppy lover. Other safety precautions include pouring your own drinks (including non-alcoholic beverages), ensuring that you have access to transportation should you decide to leave early or change your mind and having an open conversation about your no strings attached intentions.

Once you’ve taken the necessary safety precautions, it’s time to have some fun. Let loose! Share your fantasies. You don’t have to worry about judgment or compatibility since there won’t be a morning after to deal with. Give gentle directions and though it’s nice to be a giver, the one-night stand is the perfect time to be self-indulgent and ask for exactly what you want. Once you’ve got what you came for, don’t feel any pressure to sleepover. Snuggling, follow-up calls and Facebook friending are not generally required components of a casual hook-up.

If you run into your hook-up in the future, be polite and do not let yourself feel embarrassed. If you are sexually empowered and choose to have a one-night fling, you should stand behind your decision and relish in the pleasure alone. And remember, it’s not classy to kiss and tell, so be sure to respect your one-night stand’s privacy.

If the idea of casual sex makes you uncomfortable, that’s perfectly okay too. One-night stand’s aren’t for everyone and you have to trust your instincts and be true to your unique and very valuable sexual ethics. Whatever your inclination, be safe and ensure that your experience is underscored by realistic expectations, respect and a whole lot of pleasure.

Until next time have fun, experiment and always practice safer sex.

Dr. Jessica O’Reilly is a board-certified sexologist committed to helping clients enjoy healthy, pleasurable sex lives. She has completed her PhD in human sexuality with a focus on training teachers to deliver effective sex education. She loves her work (obviously!) and splits her time between public speaking engagements, freelance writing, program development and consulting in the field of sexual health. Learn more at www.jessicaoreilly.com