Are you blushing? How to make sex (and birth control) less awkward

Just talking about sex and birth control can be seriously awkward. That’s why we asked Charreah Jackson, relationships editor for ESSENCE Magazine, to tackle that subject and dish out some really good advice.

But what about the awkward things that happen when you’re actually getting it on? To get past that awkwardness, you’ve got to do three things. 1) Believe that you are completely fabulous in any situation. 2) Know that you don’t ever have to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about anything. Ever. 3) Trust that the following tips can make things a little more fun and less awkward when you need them.

  • Putting on a condom. Keep a stash next to the bed so there’s no pause mid-action. Then have him put it on (for speed) or make it part of the act (for pleasure).
  • Having to stop things while you go insert a sponge, spermicide, a diaphragm, etc. This is more of a you’ve-got-to-suck-it-up-and-do-it situation. (Because if you think a pause is awkward, that’s nothing compared to a nine month pregnancy pause.) Just excuse yourself with a simple, “Wait here. I’ll be right back.” And trust us on this: You taking care of birth control is impressive—and possibly even a turn on—so don’t fear that it’ll dampen the mood. It won’t. Bonus tip: The sponge, diaphragm, and female condom can all be inserted hours before sex. If you use those methods, look up how far ahead you can use them so you don’t have to stop during
  • Undressing when you feel shy. Sure, we want you to feel comfortable naked, but shy moments happen. Some ways around it: Blindfold your partner, then take your clothes off or wear lingerie. (It’s visually alluring and feels like you’re almost naked.)
  • Emitting various sounds or scents. First, make sure you know what’s normal and what isn’t. Then learn to laugh about it, appreciate it, or not give a damn about it.
  • Declining something in bed. If your partner tries something you’re not into, redirect them to what you both like. You may not even have to say anything. Just guide their attention where you prefer. If they keep trying, that’s when you’ll have to speak up. It’s okay to say, “Not gonna happen, but this is…” and carry on in a more comfortable position. Then, we encourage you to talk about it sometime when you’re not in the middle of having sex.
  • Asking for something in bed. If your partner isn’t getting you there and you really want to do something different, here’s how to ask for what you want at the right time.
  • Getting caught in bed. Roommates, parents, and kids are the most likely people to crash your slumber party. Here’s how to handle it.
  • Cleaning up. It’s a natural part of human relations. To make cleaning up less awkward, you can keep a hand towel, some baby wipes, tissues, and even a bottle of water stored near your bed. Glamour has even more suggestions.

What’s the most awkward situation you’ve experienced in the bedroom? Tell us in the comments along with how you handled it. We’ll either learn from it or relate to it, for sure.


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