I am not here to say sex is right or wrong—it isn’t…right or wrong. It’s a biological function often associated with heavy breathing, sucking face, and a bleary anticipation, however repressed, of Happily Ever After… unless, of course, it’s not! Which is rare, unless you’re a pro at shutting off your feeling center. In any case, it’s precisely the After part that I am after right here and now. Because the After part generally doesn’t always pan out—no matter how cool, free or independent you believe you are, the stats are in. Things that can go wrong after sex, all too often do.
Here are a few reminders: unwanted pregnancy in the US is skyrocketing; one in four teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease. 21-30 percent of college students report at least one occurrence of physical assault with a dating partner. And every day 5-11 women are killed by a male intimate partner. Not to mention the effects of low self-esteem, shame and remorse on our psyches, compounded over time. Some scars we carry the burden of forever, some we can hide. All of them affect our spirit and soul whether we know it or not.
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Once upon a time, my counseling office was filled with women filing in and out, crying their eyes out after the fact, wondering where it all went wrong? And I would say to them what I have said to myself and what I am about to say to you. "Stop right there. Get up. Walk over to a mirror and there is your answer. You want to know what the common denominator is in all your relationships? You’re looking at her! Ouch. I know, he is a jerk or at least he’s acting like one, and yes, he did screw you over, cheat, lie, take your money, come over for repeated booty call. Yes, yes, yes, okay, so he was being a big, fat, old, hairy loser! Got it. But, bottom line, you, we, let it happen. And you are not alone."
But there is something you can do about it:
1) Slow down. In fact, slow way down. Love has no shelf life. If he’s really in to you, has genuine feelings for you, he will respect your need to stop and wait. Even if you’re stripped down to your birthday suit, you still have the right to change your mind! A real man, while he may not like it, will respect your wish.
2)Drive your own car. Meet your friend wherever you are going so you aren’t dependent on them to get you out of a situation you suddenly don’t want to be in. At minimum, bring enough money for a taxi.
3)Don’t drink too much. Being intoxicated affects your reasoning skills.
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4)Don’t invite him/her in. Even if you’re in the middle of heavy petting and the next obvious step is to get a room. Use the break in action to speak up and change your mind. There is no crime or shame in that!
5)Have a plan. Before you go out make sure you tell your friend, “Look, I have to be home early because I have a big day tomorrow,” etc. This way you are less likely to give in, especially if you’re feeling lonely. And make an apt. for that early morning; book a massage, an early morning conference call, or a class that starts at some unGodly hour.