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The 'Pre-Sex Interview'. To See If You're Both In Sync.

Before he gets to know you, get to know him...better.

Sex

Sometimes, when I'm working with engaged couples who I sense don't know each other as well as what marriage actually requires, I'll encourage them to check out a list of questions that I happened upon, many years ago. No biggie, right? Well, that's until they find out that the list has a whopping 276 questions on it (you can check it out here). It never fails that at least one of the partners will say something along the lines of, "Does it really take all of that?"


In a nutshell, yes. I mean, if you're willing to vow to spend the rest of your life with someone, shouldn't you want to know as much about them and how the two of you mesh as much as possible?

I feel similarly when it comes to sex. Although the movies want us to think that it's all well and good to bypass any real communication and just hop into bed with someone because anything less would hinder romance and spontaneity, real life says that sex is serious. It can impact your health. It can affect how you process present and future dealings with other people. Shoot, based on the outcome of each sexual experience, it can totally change your life. No exaggeration.

That's why I'm all about couples holding a bit of an interview session before doing-the-do. Because if someone in your mind is worthy enough to get that close to you, there are some things that you definitely should be clear about. I'm hoping that these 12 questions can help.

1. How Often Do You Get Tested?

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I can't believe that there are still grown ass people in this world who say ridiculous things like, "They don't look like they've got a sexually transmitted disease." What in the world? Listen, years ago, I had chlamydia for a couple of years without even knowing it. A bout of mono and strep throat (yep, at the same time) revealed that it had been lying dormant in my system. Moral to the story—if you are sexually active, you need to be getting tested no less than annually. If you're shy about doing it in a doctor's office, these days, you can also get tested in the comfort, convenience and privacy of your own home. You can usually find them at your local drugstore. If you want a list of some of the best ones that are currently on the market, you can check 'em out here.

And yes, if you are contemplating having sex with someone new, you need to ask them how often they get tested. If they say "every year," ask them if it's been within the past 12 months. On the other hand, if they look at you like you're crazy, share with them what I just shared with you—that they can cop a test at Walgreens or CVS and, if they want to be with you, that is exactly what they should do.

2. Do You Always Use Condoms?

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I've got a friend who has herpes. If you think that's uncommon, in the United States, it actually isn't. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to 1 in 5 people between the ages of 14 and 49 have it. I personally know at least six. Anyway, something that they're always trying to figure out is when to introduce their status into the conversation of a prospective partner. Whenever they ask my thoughts, I'm on the tip of, as soon as you see things could head towards something sexual, that would be the time. I then follow up with, "outbreak or not, make sure to always use a condom". Sometimes they comply. Sometimes they don't. SMDH.

Y'all, unless you're in a committed long-term relationship where there is a mutual discussion and understanding that things are exclusive, there really is no reason to not put a condom on. It doesn't matter if you're on some other form of birth control or not because that isn't going to keep STI/STDs at bay.

So yeah, if you're considering having sex with someone, getting their views on condom use is important. It speaks volumes to how responsible they are when it comes to their own health and well-being, along with how accountable they are to their partner(s).

3. How Do You Know When You’re Ready?

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Now that we've gotten some of the clinical stuff out of the way, let's tackle some other areas because, whether folks choose to acknowledge it or not, sex isn't just a physical act; your mind and spirit get involved too (even when it comes to men, no matter how much they think otherwise). That's why I think another important question that needs to be raised is, "So, how do you know when you're ready to have sex with someone for the first time?" Is it raw attraction? Is it chemistry? Is it once they feel like they and someone else see life the same way? Do they have a steadfast "date count" (date one, date five, date 10)?

The reason why this is so relevant is because oftentimes couples experience a breakdown in communication and it's all based on assumptions and expectations as it specifically relates to sex. Getting clarity on how a prospective partner views the timing of sex can help you to understand if you both want the same things, at the same time—which in a relationship, is crucial.

4. Do You Automatically Become Exclusive When You Start Having Sex with Someone New?

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Speaking of "never assuming", lawd. I don't know what makes so many people—in this case, I'm gonna say women—assume that just because they start to have sex with someone, that person is automatically going to stop having sex with other people. Don't let these rom-coms trip you up. The only way you know if someone intends to be exclusive is if you ask them. And yes, this needs to transpire before you give up the goods. No, not so that you can manipulate someone into being only with you by "dangling the carrot" so to speak. It's so that you can be clear on what you're signing up for—physically and emotionally.

Sex is a really intimate act. You have every right to know if you are sharing yourself with someone who is sharing themselves with another person or other people. While the details of what they've got going on is up for grabs, anyone who thinks this question is none of your business honestly doesn't deserve to be up in yours (if you know what I mean).

5. Will You Rate the Importance of Sex from 1-10?

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Whenever I'm counseling married couples, something that I discuss with them is how important it is for them to share with their spouse how important sex is to them personally. It's because a huge issue that a lot of long-term couples deal with, isn't the fact that they aren't sexually compatible, it's that their expectation for how often they want to have sex isn't the same.

A one-off, sexually, is one thing. However, if you're planning on having sex with someone for quite a while, it's critical that you ask them to rate how important sex, in a relationship, is to them. Because listen, if you say "4" and they say "9" (or vice versa), I can promise you that there is gonna be some conflict up the road. Better to figure out if you can find some common ground before hopping in the sack. Trust me.

6. Do You See Sex in “Levels”?

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What exactly do I mean by this? Last year, I wrote an article for the platform about how friendships come in levels. Well, something else that does is sex. Some people see sex as being purely recreational. Some people only have sex once some sort of emotional connection has been established. Some people wait for sex until there is a long-term relationship or even marriage. And with those levels, oftentimes comes the amount of vulnerability and sharing that they are willing to do, both in and out of the bedroom. I know several people who go through the mechanics of sex without really revealing much of themselves at all. Meanwhile, some of their partners have ended up feeling devastated because they were going "all in" on their end. Never assume that passionate sex is a solid emotional connection. Getting this kind of understanding comes from verbal communication not sexual activity. Again, just about everything has levels to it. When it comes to what your potential partner's levels are—ASK.

7. What Are Your Sexual Priorities?

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Priority is an interesting word. It speaks to level of importance. It speaks to when something should occur. It speaks to what deserves to receive special attention. Keeping all of this in mind, knowing what someone's sexual priorities—yes, in this context—is really important as well. Is foreplay a big deal to them or not? How do they feel about afterplay? Do they have things on their sex bucket list that they haven't tried (and want to with you)? How open are they to trying new things? How important to them is their partner's pleasure? Learning what someone prioritizes in the sexual realm can give you a whole lot of insight into their approach to sex overall. And listen sis, the less you are blindsided, the better.

8. What Are Your Sexual Boundaries?

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A couple of years ago, I penned an article for the site entitled, "These Are The Deal-Breakers You Shouldn't Hesitate To Have In The Bedroom". The reality is, even though you really can't get more naked (literally) with someone than when it comes to sex, most of us aren't so uninhibited that we have absolutely no boundaries or limits at all. What is your partner willing to do? What are they not willing to do? Do they feel some type of way about having sex in their home or their partner spending the night? What are some sexual pet peeves or irritants that they've got? Are there some things that are open to compromise and if so, what are they? Listen, I don't care how much chemistry you have with someone, never assume that your idea of great sex (more on that in a bit) is the same definition they've got. Again, the only way to know for sure is if you talk it out. Disrespecting somebody's boundaries are a big deal. Bedroom limits are certainly not exempt.

9. How Do You Feel About Oral Sex?

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While it personally blows my mind, how many grown men and women can take a pass on oral sex (because usually it's the giving not the receiving that they don't like), that doesn't change the fact that it's the truth. Some people in my own world could do without it and boy has it caused problems in the bedroom for them (married and single people alike). You don't want to find out after you've given on your end (or even once you're just naked) that your partner has no intentions on returning the favor. So, if oral sex is a big deal to you, you need to find out if 1) they are down and 2) if they enjoy doing it or merely tolerate it as a means to an end. Hmph. Let me tell it, the folks who are down to receive and not give are revealing more than just their views on oral sex; they're low-key telling you if they're a selfish lover or not because if they want what they aren't willing to give…isn't that the textbook definition of what selfishness is?

10. Does Sex Change the Dynamic of the Relationship for You?

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I'm the kind of person who believes that sex changes everyone to some extent. I mean, the oxytocin (the natural hormone that comes from kissing, cuddling and having sex that bonds you to the person you are doing those things with) is enough of a reason to support this stance. Still, some folks definitely end up getting way more attached than others. Plus, not everyone sees sex from the same perspective. I know people who immediately think they are in love after their first time with someone. I also know people who can chalk sex up to being something cool to do, so they don't find themselves super emotionally invested at all. That's because, even if science says that their bodies are connecting with someone, if they mentally and emotionally choose to check/tap out, that can still hinder anything serious from developing.

So yeah, you definitely need to find out if the person you're thinking about having sex with only wants to have sex or if they see that as a sign of taking the dynamic to another level. Again, far too many people create movies in their mind of what they think sex should be and do for them. Then when they get disappointed, they blame the other person. Sex doesn't translate for everyone the same way. The only way you'll know how it affects them relationally is by openly and genuinely talking with them about it.

11. Have You Ever “Faked It”? If So, Why?

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Wanna know how egotistical someone is when it comes to sex? Ask them if they know that someone they've had sex with has faked an orgasm before. I don't care if it's a man or a woman, if they come at you with "Oh, I KNOW that hasn't happened"…EGO. The reality is that 75-80 percent of women haven't had a vaginal orgasm before and 1 in 4 guys have admitted that they've faked climaxing. For us, an orgasm comes with contractions (which means our partner should be able to feel some pulsating going on if they are inside of our vagina). For guys, it needs to go on record that a man hasn't automatically had an orgasm just because he ejaculated (men can have an orgasm without ejaculating too). That's why, all of that yelling and wall-climbing aren't a dead orgasm giveaway. Sometimes it's literally just an act.

The reasons why people choose to fake it are vast. Some want to hurry up and get sex over with. Some feel self-conscious about not having one and they don't want their partner to know. Some are unhappy in bed and yet want their partner to be pleased. The bottom line here is faking it is never "just faking it"; there's a story behind it and whatever that account is, it can reveal a lot about a person. For this reason, asking a prospective partner if they have faked it and, if so, why they thought that was the "right" thing to do.

12. How Do You Define “Great Sex”?

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When you get a chance, check out "What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex To Be". I wrote it with the objective of expanding the concept of what "great sex" is for mature individuals. And for that reason, I'm gonna close out here. Like most things in life, defining "great" is highly subjective, especially when it comes to sexual activity. Some people think that someone who is down for whatever is great. Some feel like those with a super high libido are great. Others think that sex within the confines of a serious relationship make for great sex. While yes, some things you won't discover on the "great scale" until the act actually transpires, having some sort of insight into what makes someone walk away from a sexual experience with a huge smile on their face can happen before everyone's clothes come off—and it should.

Whew. There you have it. Listen, no one is saying that this has to be an interrogation. Just over a couple of glasses of wine, express that you'd like to learn a few things in the sex department. If he has a mature approach to sex—and you—he'll be open to the discussion. And whether you ultimately decide to move forward or not, you'll have a lot more peace of mind. Guaranteed.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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Lawd, lawd. I'm assuming that I'm not being too presumptuous when I start this all out by saying, I'm pretty sure that more than just a few of us can relate to this title and topic. I know that personally, there are several men from my sexual past who would've been out of my space a lot sooner had the sex not been…shoot, so damn good. And it's because of that very thing that you'll never ever convince me that sex can't mess with your head. The oxytocin highs (that happen when we kiss, cuddle and orgasm) alone can easily explain why a lot of us will make a sexual connection with someone and stay involved with them for weeks, months, years even, even if the mental and emotional dynamic is subpar, at best.

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