When you’re dating someone new and it feels right, it makes sense to start wondering about the next steps. Should I introduce them to my family? Will they love my dog? When are we going to have sex?
If that last question made you pause, you’re not alone. Talking about sex pretty much everywhere has a reputation for being uncomfortable or even taboo. This is especially true for singles in Singapore.
But we don’t think that has to be the status quo anymore. So, we got together with Durex to tackle the topic and give Singaporeans the tools they need to speak up about sex.
Spoiler alert, talking about sex is tough
To kick off our campaign with Durex, we asked daters in Singapore for their thoughts around talking about sex. Right away, we realized that plenty of people actually want to talk about it…but just aren’t.
It turns out that asking if your date wants to have sex isn’t really the hard part. Only 26% of daters said that’s where they get tripped up. But more than half of singles said the No. 1 thing they have trouble talking about is health and safety, like STD history or latest test date.
There was also a difference between men and women when it comes to bringing up sexual health with someone new.
These numbers show that women in Singapore might be bearing more of the burden around safe sex practices. And that burden is even more difficult if you and your partner aren’t actually talking about it.
What’s stopping daters from talking about sex?
When asked why they aren’t bringing up sex with their dates, 40% of daters said the same thing: it’s super uncomfortable.
Societal expectations play a major role here when we break down why talking about sex is uncomfortable in the first place. The No. 1 reason daters don’t feel like it’s OK to talk about sex with someone new? They don’t want to seem too forward or promiscuous.
One other reason stood out when daters shared why they aren’t talking about sex: 42% of women don’t feel comfortable talking about it because they just aren’t interested in sex before marriage, while only 19% of men felt this way.
How we can normalize talking about sex
We know dating is already complicated enough. And talking about something as awkward as sex adds an extra layer of worry. So, we figured the best thing to do was to be as forward as possible, and sat down with some daters to have them answer questions about sex together.
Here’s the simple truth: You can’t have an honest, lasting relationship without good communication. And your sex life is included in that, too. If you want to know something about your date, like where they grew up or what their plans are for the future, you’d ask them. The same should go for questions around sex.
And even if you’re not interested in pre-marital sex, that doesn’t mean you should skip the conversation. It’s important that you share your plans with your dates and encourage them to do the same in return. That way, you can both make informed decisions about whether your wants and needs are compatible.
So that’s why we’re here to give you the tools you need to confidently ask the questions. We asked daters what they struggle with most and want to learn more about – here’s what we got.
How do I bring up sex?
You want to talk about sex with your dates…but just have no clue where to start. We totally get that, it’s a whole new world for a lot of us. Here are some questions to get you started:
💜 Is sex something you’re interested in?
💜 What are you looking for in a sexual partner?
💜 At what point would you feel comfortable having sex?
💜 What are some boundaries you need to set before sex?
💜 If you’re sleeping with other people, have you been tested?
Obviously, you don’t have to ask every one of these questions like some sort of interview. Think of these questions as guidelines to feel out what matters most to you, and you can ask them when the time feels right.
How do I set boundaries in my sex life?
We all know boundaries are important for a healthy relationship. But what does a boundary even mean? They’re going to look different for everyone. Here’s a few guidelines to help you figure yours out.
Think about past experiences. What did you like, what didn’t you like? Use those to figure out what you’d like your date to know now.
Get comfortable saying no. If you’re not down to have sex until a certain time or don’t want to try something they’re into, speak up. And if your date can’t respect those boundaries, it’s a sign to move on.
Write it down. Try filling out a yes/no/maybe worksheet to figure out what you’re both into. Writing things down and reading responses on your own time takes away some of that awkwardness that comes with talking in person.
Talk safety. Test dates, condom use, STD history, all that. And remember, safewords aren’t just for BDSM relationships. They work any time you need to quickly express when something isn’t right.
How do I build intimacy through sex?
OK, now you know the importance of talking about sex and you can cover the basics. Let’s build on that to make your relationship and sex life even better.
Start outside the bedroom. No, not like what you’re thinking. Ditch the small talk and work on opening up outside of your sex life, instead. That way you’ll feel more comfortable being real about what you like sexually.
Talk about your definitions. To you, sex might mean one thing. But to the person you’re seeing, it might look a little different. If you two aren’t on the same page, it might lead to a misunderstanding or unmet expectations.
Be explicit. Be clear about what you like and don’t like. If you’re just going through the motions with each other, chances are you’re not having the best sex you could be having. It can be as simple as “Hey, that whole leg move we did? I definitely cramped up. Let’s not do that again.”
Discover your fantasies. Once you’ve got that whole using-your-words thing down, move on from basic boundaries to sexual fantasies. You might feel silly, and maybe you’ll laugh or fumble while trying it out, but letting your partner try something new with you is super intimate.
Be prepared. Let’s be real, nothing kills a mood faster than not having peace of mind. Make sure you’ve got what you need, like condoms, beforehand. That way, it’s less worrying and more focusing on each other.
Where we can go from here
Listen, sex isn’t an easy topic, and we’re not all going to suddenly become experts who never fumble their way through a tough conversation. But we have to start somewhere if we want to make talking about sex our new normal.
If you want to learn more dating advice like this, be sure to check out our Instagram. We can get better at building lasting, stronger relationships together.