A lot of us grow up not fully understanding what being in a healthy sexual relationship means. Whether we had “the talk” after we’d already become sexually active or didn’t actually learn anything from the mandatory “sex ed” class, most of us go into physically intimate relationships without knowing what our sexual relationship rights are
And that is just what we’re aiming to fix here. Whether you’re just stepping into a sexual relationship or you’ve been in one for years, we hope that this list helps you understand the rights that you have in your sexual relationship.
So without further ado, in a sexual relationship, you have the right to…
1. Communicate With Each Other
Good communication is a key part of all healthy relationships — a sexual relationship is no exception.
Checking In Before and After
Whether this is before and after a sexual act with your partner or anything else, you have the right to have that time of open communication with your partner. Checking in with your partner gives both of you a chance to make sure that you are comfortable with the activity you are doing and show that you are there to support each other.
Listening to Each Other
Communication is a two-way street. While you have the right to speak openly with your partner and have them listen to you, they have that same right. Like all of these rights, this applies to both of you. So, you also have the right and responsibility to listen to each other.
Express Yourself Openly and Honestly
In a healthy sexual relationship, you have the right to express yourself honestly and openly. Whether this is expressing sexual activities that you like and don’t like or something else, you have the right to speak your mind and be heard and respected.
2. Feel Safe
In romantic and sexual relationships it is extremely important that both partners feel safe and supported. It is your right to feel safe in your sexual relationship. It is also your responsibility to make sure that your partner feels safe in the relationship as well.
3. Set Values and Limits
You have the right to set your own values and limits and your partner should
All good relationships need respect to be healthy. You are entitled to be respected by your partner in your relationship.
One area where respect is incredibly important is with boundaries — both yours and your partner’s. Boundaries are an important part of all relationships and you have the right to have your boundaries respected in your sexual relationship.
Privacy is another thing that is incredibly important to respect in a relationship. It is all too easy today to neglect privacy, especially when it comes to digital devices. But in a healthy sexual relationship, both you and your partner are entitled to your own privacy and that right needs to be respected.
Treated as an Equal
No one person in a relationship should hold all the cards — or make all the decisions. Both partners in the relationship should be equals and should be treated as such. Both you and your partner have the right to be treated equally. This comes from the mutual respect that all healthy relationships should be based on.
Whether you remember the “consent is like tea” video that your high school sex ed. class showed or not, understanding and respecting your or your partner’s consent is the key to more than just healthy sexual activity. You have the right to give (or not give!) your consent to any activity — sexual or not — in your relationship.
Be Asked and Have Your Answer Respected
You have the right to not only be asked for your consent but also have your answer respected. A lot of people think that asking for consent might “ruin the moment” and instead focus on body language to determine what their partner wants.
This is incredibly unreliable and there is nothing more endearing and sexy than knowing that your partner is wanting to respect you and your decisions by asking for consent before engaging in sexual activities.
Withdraw Consent at Any Time
Sometimes we change our minds, and that is okay. You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time — even if you are in the middle of something — and that decision should be respected by your partner.
Asking for consent is asking a question — and “no” is a perfectly valid answer to that question. You have the right to say no to anything that you are uncomfortable with or even anything that you just don’t want to do at that time.
6. Have a Sexual Voice
No matter what society may say about women who openly express their sexuality, having a sexual voice is your right. No matter your gender or sexual orientation, you have the right to your own sexual voice and to experience your own sexual desires (or lack thereof). And both you and your partner should want to learn more about each other’s likes and dislikes so that you can better support each other.
7. Enjoy Friends and Activities Apart from Each Other
Just because you are in a sexual relationship with someone does not mean that you have to give up your friends or activities that are not with your partner. You have the right to (and should) enjoy activities and friends without your partner present.
8. Decide to Share (or Not Share) Things With Others
You should never feel like your partner is threatening to share (or actually sharing) information that you do not want to be shared with others. You have the right to determine what information or other personal stuff you want to share with others.
It is incredibly important that both you and your partner are a part of this decision process because you both have the right to determine what information you are comfortable sharing and what you are not. And the information you share with others needs to be respectful of both you and your partner‘s boundaries.
9. Not “Owe” Sexual Activity to Your Partner
You should not feel like you “owe” your partner any sexual acts because of anything that they have done for you. You are never under any obligation to “return the favor,” if your partner has done something nice for you, you should not feel as if you need to repay them with sexual activity.
10. Leave a Relationship at Any Point
You should not ever feel that you are trapped in any relationship, including a sexual one. It is your right to make the decision to stay in or leave a sexual relationship at any point.
11. Be in a Healthy Relationship
Finally, you have the right to be in a healthy and respectful relationship. This means no abuse — whether physical, emotional, or sexual. You deserve a relationship with a partner who respects you, your values, and your boundaries AND you also have a responsibility to do the same for your partner.
Whether you are starting a new sexual relationship with your partner or you have been in the same relationship for the past 30 years, we hope that this has helped you to understand the rights that you have in your sexual relationship. If you find that you are having some difficulty feeling secure with these rights or you feel like maybe it is “too late to change” your relationship as it is now, just know that you do not have to go through those feelings alone.
We at Love Heal Grow are here to help you and provide any support you need to feel happy and secure in your life and your relationships. So, even if you’ve just got some questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.