Why Safe Sex Is About A Lot More Than Condoms, Pregnancy, Or Infection!

The real definition of safe sex should comprise not just the use of condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancies and infections, but also the emotional safety of women.

Are you having safe sex?”

Condoms, STDs and unwanted pregnancies immediately come to our mind.

I rephrase my question based on something I read and heard about recently.

Are you having emotionally safe sex?”

To me, like it is for a lot of people, being physically intimate with a person involves a great degree of vulnerability.

That warm space where you are revealing all your physical susceptibilities and lying in their arms – There is no way around revealing that dark spot near your hip or your rough hands or the little mole on top of your right breast. The same way, there is little way around the emotional vulnerability you feel.

While orgasms are talked about often, have you ever thought about how you actually feel, say a few hours or days or weeks after sex? What do you feel when you recollect it all?

Our society is conditioned to look at any sex outside marriage the same way a gym instructor is trained to look at his overweight clients cheat with food – with scorn, judgement and disapproval.

We have sadly internalized and accepted that guilt is a by-product of a natural act like sex.

While guilt is more complex and arises out of conditioning, there are other ways that emotionally unsafe sex can shatter you.

Being with a manipulative partner or someone who has different expectations out of the relationship.

Are there unresolved issues in your relationship that keep coming up when you are not physically intimate?

Are you having sex because you like it or because you are feeling empty or because your partner wants it?

Are you stringing along with the hope that jumping into bed could pave way for a future? Is sex the only way to resolve fights in your relationship?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is easy to say that you are not having emotionally safe sex.

The act of emotionally unsafe sex could be a lot of fun physically as well; don’t keep your common sense aside and blame it on the body!

In the age of friends with benefits, booty-calls and one-night/day-stands, we have enough potential to slip into something that can prove to be an emotional disaster. Of course, when emotionally unsafe sex occurs in a marriage or a committed relationship, it is even more distressing!

So what is emotionally safe sex?

There is only one way to feel after you are intimate with someone. And that is happy!

If you are having sex with someone, they should treat not just your body, but your mind and feelings as well with love, mutual respect and care. Irrespective of whether you are in a committed relationship or not, there is simply NO EXCUSE around this.

So what about the ones who string you along in the name of love?

The ones who would do anything to bed you and then go back on their word?

The ones with whom sex always comes with too many strings attached that suffocate you?

The ones who make you feel guilty every time after sex?

The ones who almost make it look like they are doing you a favour by sleeping with you?

Be wary of such people.

It is safe to say they are worse than Herpes.

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Nandhitha Hariharan is a writer with a love for anything that is pretty or covered

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4 Comments


  1. A well articulated post!! I totally agree with you about making emotional safety top priority in intimate relationships. In fact I would think above everything else, the lack of emotional safety is often a deal breaker. It is amazing that you have articulated this so well and it is perhaps the first time I’m reading about this in a post. We talk about so many aspects of intimate relationships yet we don’t talk about this one enough. A partner who does not look out for or is uncaring of the emotional safety of the other is clearly going to be a disaster for the relationship. Like you say, lack of regard for the other’s emotional safety will lead to bad/selfish decisions regarding, birth control, responsibility, sensitivity and caring in all aspects of that relationship both in and outside the bed. Relationships often fall prey to devious manipulation when emotional security and safety is disregarded or trivialised. It leads not only to heartbreak, disappointment and often dangerous outcomes. It is important to create awareness of the idea of emotionally and physically safe relationships among people in intimate relations, so as to prevent abuse, violence, exploitation and despair. A healthy relationship is certainly characterised above all else by a feeling of emotional safety and well being. Good partners who want fairness and each other’s well being will work towards ensuring they build on this foundation.

  2. I lot of judgment floating around in this post. Why demonize pure sex without emotional attachments? If some people want to go for it, who are we to moralize and say “you must not lust after the body”? We’re no one to judge what is or isn’t healthy, as long as we have two consenting adults. Emotional setbacks are part of life – we’ve all had them, and lived to tell the tale. And ultimately ended up stronger and wiser.

    • Nandhitha Hariharan

      I am sorry you think there are judgments associated with the post. That was not the intention. My intention was to just evaluate what is important to you thoughtfully while keeping the emotional aspect in mind before making a decision. This is not a prescription for anyone on what to do 🙂

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