It is time to rewrite how we approach the beginning and continuance of sexual relationships. The recent deluge of subtle and extreme differences in how we, as a society, approach sex and relationships has been painful and ugly. And absolutely necessary. Fortunately, this week’s Sex Stories We Love features some great writers and thinkers - and a lot more to think about. It is going to take a lot to get through this, so let’s (consensually) hold each other tight.

A Great Date?

OK, here’s the first thing on our how-to-sex for 2018: the date. The idea of a date used to have a much simpler connotation. Two people agree to meet up and participate in an activity with the hope of mutual and reciprocal feelings growing between them. At least, that’s the idea of a date that has been foisted upon as an ideal. In real life, though, dating and connection have always been fraught with inequalities. In the current climate and with the current examples, the inequalities are heavily skewed toward a heterosexual presentation wherein men have remained the dominating player with women pushed to the pleasing/accepting role (although we know that the dynamics of dating power exist in all types of relationships). But now, moving forward in 2018 (why did it take so long?) can we actually reframe how we date? This piece on CNN provides great insight from all kinds of experts on how to date in 2018. What do you think?

Be Enthusiastic About Consent

Let's say that you've been on a date. Or even a few dates. Or you might have just connected to hook up. You and someone you think is pretty nifty seem to be moving toward physical intimacy. You think sex is on the horizon. You’re feeling good about things and hope that next step can be taken. Now is the time for the two (or more) of you to have an absolutely fabulous talk about consent and this piece in Teen Vogue explains just how to do it. It is great that you are feeling close to someone and want to enjoy sex with them because sex is great! But you’ll never know if they are thinking the same thing if a conversation isn’t had and your ongoing discussion of consent isn’t initiated. No more presumptions. Make this very important talk happen. Here’s the thing: yes, talking about sex has been made out to be the scariest thing in the world. But, you might just find that opening up and sharing your thoughts and, more importantly, listening to the thoughts of your hoped-for sexual partner, can be an enlightening and exhilarating experience. You’ll be setting up a great space to be in together, and gaining an understanding of the spaces you won’t be moving into. You're really just establishing your mutual potential as sexual partners. That's pretty sexy!

Give Love To Gloves and Dams

Moving down the line, let's suppose that your consent talk went great and you're both looking forward to some hot, awesome, mutually agreeable sexytimes! But are you ready? Hopefully, as part of your consent talk, you also shared your expectations around safer sex. Many of us are just taught about condoms as the only barrier method out there (if we’re even taught that), but there are other options. If you aren’t familiar with dental dams and gloves, and how they can be both helpful and super hot during sex, then take a read of some greatly helpful words from the inimitable Jiz Lee: "Whether you like using barriers because it gives you more peace of mind, or because you think snapping on a glove or feeling a tongue sliding circles where the sun don't shine is sexy, barriers are one smart and super hot way to enjoy sex, safely."

Blowing Up Blowjobs

It’s happening! It’s really happening! You’re together, you’ve talked, you’ve got your safer sex kits out and ready. Time for a blowjob! No no no, trust me, I am not sliding back to the typical, heterocentric, mainstream porn version of sex that we’ve been forced into believing is the only way. Nope. Blowjobs aren’t the same old thing anymore. Namely, who says the activity needs to be gendered - or that a flesh-and-blood cock needs to be involved? This definitive guide to strap-on blowjobs by Carolyn Yates over at Autostraddle combines all that you need to think about and know if you’ve ever wondered about giving (or receiving) a strap-on blowjob. And let it be known: the possibilities are endless!

A Drop in the Bucket

Do you have a sexual bucket list? You know, all those things you’d love to try but just haven’t had a chance to yet? Lucas Brooks over at the Intellectual Homosexual has provided a fun collection here, one that combines some very popular options with some ideas for those with very specific tastes.That’s the thing: what appears on everyone’s sexy bucket list is going to be very different. If you’ve ever been in corporate workplaces, you’ve inevitably had to sit through some situations where the dreaded “icebreaker” happens. Well, let’s reclaim that and make our sexy bucket lists a topic in our ongoing consent discussions. To be clear, this probably shouldn't be part of your initial consent discussions. There are two good reasons for that: revealing your list might put pressure on your partner and sharing lists might be a little too private. People should never feel a pressure to fulfill their partner’s bucket list. Plus, some people have sexual interests and fetishes that need some time to introduce. Consent discussions are about comfort. But when things do feel right, a conversation about sexual fantasies and bucket lists can be a game-changer.

Positioned for Sexiness

Finally, has all this worked? Are y’all feeling good? Talks are good? Fun is happening? If so, check out this guide to sex-educator endorsed sex positions for maximum pleasure! And then talk some more!