Here’s the scenario: you’re on a date with someone new, and it feels like the two of you will be headed towards the bedroom soon. Once you’re in the heat of the moment, neither of you have protection (you haven’t visited a Maine Family Planning clinic in a while). You’re conflicted. But you make the decision to follow through with it because your new crush doesn’t seem worried about not practicing safe sex. The next morning, you wake up wishing you had listened to that nagging voice in your head–you wish you had made a different decision and now you’re feeling badly about ignoring your instincts.
Have you ever been here? So many of us have. Often times, we ignore our instincts and gut-feelings because our boundaries–our ‘yeses’ and ‘nos’– weren’t particularly clear to ourselves in the first place. Boundaries are nuanced; they change all of the time–depending on our mood, our current feelings, and the situation.
In our sexual lives, we can expect to bump up against issues around boundaries. Boundaries are the always-changing space where we work stuff out, the grey area of change and opportunity, and a space for learning and growth. Whether we are deciding which birth control to use, or who we decide to sleep with, or making agreements in a partnership, we are constantly being challenged to be clear with our boundaries and live with our decisions.
All of this takes practice and planning. I co-facilitate a workshop series for women called Sex of Self, where we openly discuss issues around sexuality, our bodies, and our choices. We focus on bringing awareness to how a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ feels in our bodies. The workshop offers space and time to practice making decisions. We re-learn (or learn for the first time) how to stay true to ourselves when we feel insecure, as well as how to build confidence in our decisions.
While it’s up to each individual to define and negotiate their own boundaries, Maine Family Planning clinics offer the care and support necessary for sexual and reproductive health. Because planning ahead is one way to make sure that we make decisions we feel good about, it’s a great idea to work with a provider at a family planning clinic to figure out what kind of birth control and STD protection will work best for you. They also offer Emergency Contraception and STD testing & treatment in a completely non-judgmental atmosphere—because your health is a priority, even if things didn’t go according to plan.
This week’s post is by guest blogger Dana Fadel, a member of The Buzz and a sex educator with experience working with groups around safe sex and healthy relationships. Dana’s strength is helping raise sexual consciousness, self-acceptance, and navigating choices that are right for you.