Sex Ed for the Suddenly Single

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Jilted, bereaved, liberated, or just moving on, every year millions of men and women say goodbye to a long-term relationship — often one they had been committed to for decades. For the newly single, starting to have sex with new partners can be fraught with hazards.

You maybe in for the time of your life, but you also face issues that probably haven’t crossed your mind in a long time: disease risks, pregnancy risks, and the risk of embarrassment.

Remember all that? Welcome back.

Relearning the Ropes

There’s no point in anal sex. In the 1980s, with the spread of AIDS, it became necessary for the media and government to talk about anal sex publicly. All the talk about the practice stirred up interest in it.

Certainly plenty of couples, gay and straight, have always indulged. If, however, anal activity was never part of your sex life in the past, don’t be shocked if a new partner offers or requests it.

Testing for AIDS

“Before having sex with a new partner, it is your responsibility to know what you’ve got. Do not assume you’re fine,” Paget says.

At the very least, you should know your HIV status. Perhaps you and your previous partner got tested together 10 years ago. Or maybe you were in a monogamous relationship years before the condoms and keep it in the bedroom. If you go out and think you might go home with someone, take along a condom. Just don’t make the mistake of keeping one in your wallet, which over time breaks down the latex, or the bottom of your purse, where it might get holes poked in it.

“If you’ve never used condoms, get a condom out and play with it,” Queen says. Familiarity lessens the likelihood of using them incorrectly.

Lastly, if there’s anything you have questions about, get answers. There is no shortage of accurate and accessible sex information on the Internet. You could also take a class in sexuality at a college or a local health organization.

“If people haven’t had a basic sex education, they should go out and get one,” Queen says.