Now, I don’t know who came up with the term “sex contract” but they really should have rethought the wording. Great concept – but the term “contract” can destroy the intimacy it can bring to a relationship. Nevertheless, if you value your sex life or would like to improve it, you need to sit down with your partner and draw one up. It’s very different to a sexual consent contract which people get casual partners to sign to ensure they aren’t later charged with rape.
The main purpose of the sex contract is to get people communicating about their sexual behavior, desires and boundaries with their partner. It’s an excellent way to explore and negotiate all types of sexual activity you want to try, builds intimacy and trust; plus it can include things like what constitutes infidelity and anything else of a sexual nature.
They’ve become increasingly popular since 50 Shades of Grey was published a few years ago and sex therapists are using them as a tool to get couples back on track. Even if you have a great sex life, it’s a bit like having sexual insurance if problems arise within your relationship. Having a forum to talk about sex provides an opportunity to discuss it, rather than dealing with the problem in isolation or withdrawing from your partner.
Having discussed the benefits, we explore the how to initiate a contract and investigate the types of things to include.
Even initiating a sex contract is a positive exercise. It shows your partner that you value your sexual relationship, want to protect it and make it even better. For some people, wanting to create one and actually doing so maybe a bit awkward. How and when do you bring it up? Before sex, after sex, at the dinner table?
Just like any other discussion you need to pick the right time to talk about it. In this case, you want to talk about your sexuality and sex life, so a perfect time would be when the two of you are in bed and have pillow talk. Be aware of how you word things. Like I mentioned previously, the word “contract” sounds cold and formal. You also want to get across this something you want to do, rather than turn it into a proposal.
Below are two examples. The first is a poor way to introduce it and the second is a better alternative.
- “Hey babe, have you ever heard about this thing called a sex contract? Couples talk about their sex lives together and make up a contract. Would you consider doing something like that?
- “Hey babe, I read about this thing where couples talk about their sex life together and make up like a list of do’s and don’ts. They include all sorts of sex related things in it. I’d love to do something like with you. ”
Can you see the difference? The first invites your partner to put an end to the discussion, whereas the second makes a statement of what you want. Wording things correctly is really important, particularly if you want something from your partner which may make them feel uncomfortable. Keep that in mind when you negotiate items on your list!
Now, a sex contract is solely between the two people who create it. Therefore, what you include is up to you. Below is a list of things for you to consider:
- Quantity of sex
- Sex dates
- Sex holidays
- Turn-ons and turn-off
- Non-intercourse activities (eg. erotic massage)
- Sexual language
- Sexual positions
- Sexual research and experimentation
- Sex toys and porn
- Spending on sex products
- Sexual function and health
- Lack of desire
- Sexual boundaries
- Relationship boundaries
- Infidelity – foundation and consequences
- Talk about emotions; including guilt, shame, trust, respect, discretion, privacy
- Contact with ex-partners
- Friends of the opposite sex
- Revisions to the contract
As you can see, a sex contract should include way more than depth than quantity and positions. It’s a tool to be able to communicate about sex with your partner, make it better and fix issues as they arise (or don’t, pardon the pun). Couples who can talk about sex have a much greater chance of working through issues which leads to a better, stronger relationship overall.
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Kim is a writer and SHESAID's resident psychologist. A self-proclaimed tomboy who understands more about relationships and men than she ever will about glitz and glamour. Follow Kim on Google+.