Everyone has a “code”, right? Some moral guidelines by which they live. This is not that list. Instead, I humbly submit what you might call the bar you have to be as tall as to ride the roller-coaster of love, sex and connection.

1. No means no and ladies rule. No exceptions barring prior negotiations, while of a calm, rational and sound mind prior to undressing or engaging in social contact.

2. Be gracious and grateful; be good, giving and game. Mind your manners.

3. No amount of observation on your part of someone else’s provocative dress or actions is capable of invoking action in your body. Only you decide what you do. If it bothers you enough to take by force what your wits and graces deny you, leave immediately. If you are reading and comprehending this, I can infer that you are either a human being or some other entity capable of reading English and acting of your own volition. Hello, fellow sophont! This is a test. Each and every moment is a test. You and only you can decide whether to do the right thing or to cross a line. Stop blaming others for the fact that you lack respect for their personal boundaries.

4. Rape: No. Just no. Nobody ever asks for it. I don’t care what she wears or whatever signals you imagine she “sent”. If she is incapable of asking for sex in a calm rational voice and in so many words then she Does. Not. Want. It. No leeway and no loopholes. And if she wants to stop halfway through for whatever reason: Playtime is over, back away. A yes can be withdrawn. Deal with it.

Moreover… If somebody is incapable of stating their consent clearly and / or asking you for sex in as many words, they are either too young, too immature, too shocked, too scared, too inebriated or too unconscious to be having it. The only thing to do under those circumstances – even when faced with an amorous naked specimen of the species — is to swat said non-sapient on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. Giving them a cookie and a blanket might also be nice. (If someone is in fact asking you to actually rape them, chances are you’re faced by somebody incapable of seeing the irony in that or you’re dealing with a trauma survivor. Handle carefully, do your homework on what that means and buckle up your roller-coaster seat.)

You determine your own level of involvement. Respect, welcome, honour and encourage the same in others. Somebody’s self-determination is only to be curtailed if it negatively impacts on someone else.

Take safety and protection seriously. Be on the same page before the pants come off. If you’re too shy, inexperienced or eager to raise the topic in a timely grown-up fashion, back up the line kid… go ride the teacups.

8. Embrace vulnerability. It truly is the only way to authentic connection. Sex without connection is a shallow lonely wank with a nice view.

9. Respect others’ boundaries with kindness. Respect secrets when they’re not your own.

10. Pubic hair. Some prefer smooth pubes, and that is indeed a treat. If you truly cannot handle a natural vagina, however, then you’re not old enough to be handling one. (If you’re into boys, then hair down there is unlikely to be either a surprise or a problem in the long run.)

Just like life itself, sex is Absurd. Absurdity means any inherently meaningless action, event, or series of events to which people ascribe some supposed deeper meaning. It’s still the most fun you can have with your pants off. Laugh and lose yourself in someone. Be grateful and kind; for a moment, someone gave you the chance to truly connect with their most vulnerable self.

Whatever happens: Check your expectations at the door. Cultivate having fewer preconceptions, for this means fewer disappointments and more pleasant surprises. Even if you could know precisely what will happen when the door closes and the belt buckle hits the floor, how boring wouldn’t that be?

Just about anyone can have an orgasm by themselves. Though it is a bonus, the point of intimacy with another human being is not orgasm but intimacy; sharing a full-body touch, letting go of pretences… allowing yourself to be seen. Deeply and unreservedly seen. If that’s not your goal, you need to take a step back and re-examine your motives.

Story originally appeared on ctrlaltsex.co.za

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