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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

Balancing Pleasure and Health

By December 7, 2012

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One of the ongoing themes that has been addressed every year I've attended the CLFE's Sex Education conference (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in sex education) is the need to balance pleasure and health when talking to people about sex. I've written about that before, but this year's conference got me thinking about a slightly different take on the topic - the interaction between enthusiastic consent, pleasure, and health.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of enthusiastic consent, it is the notion that your partners shouldn't just be willing to have sex with you, they should be excited about it (and you should be excited about having sex with them.) Sex is, unquestionably, better when both people really want to be there. However, I think there's a possibility that it might also be safer.

When two people really want to be with each other, and know they really want to be with each other, I think that barriers such as talking about sexual history or negotiating barrier use are less of a big deal. These things are often so frightening because we're worried about rejection. However, rejection probably seems less likely when both people are really excited about what's about to happen.

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