The Power of Boundaries: Why Saying "No" Can Feel So GoodApr 06, 2023
Hey there, breathtaking human! Today, we're going to talk about something that's close to my heart – integrity and sex. As part of the LGBTQIA+ community, we know that sex can be complicated, but it's essential to approach it with honesty, respect, and love. So, let's dive in!
Have you ever done something sexually that didn't work for you, but you went along with it anyway? Maybe you didn't feel comfortable or safe, or maybe it just didn't feel good. Sometimes our curiosity gets the better of us and we push ourselves forward to see what it’s like - only to discover that it doesn’t work. Whatever the reason, you knew deep down that it wasn't right for you, but you went ahead anyway. I know I have.
When it comes to sex, you might be tempted to do something that doesn't feel right to please someone else or put someone else’s needs before your own, but it's crucial to remember that compromising your integrity will only lead to regret and pain.
What is integrity?
Integrity means being whole and complete. At a deep level, it is honouring your Self.
So what is the Self? The Self with a capital ‘S’ is your higher self, the biggest expression of your Self. This Self is eternal and exists beyond our concept of time. When we operate from our higher Self, we have a say in who we are, and who we are is whole and complete.
Self with a lowercase ‘s’ is the flawed, broken, damaged, and diminished self. It is the smaller self, filled with our humanness. When we operate from our smaller self, we are coming from a place of something missing. This leads us to wanting an external source to fix us, yearning from a place of brokenness, or looking for love in all the wrong places
What does sexual integrity look like?
Maintaining sexual integrity involves being honest and true to oneself and others about one's sexual desires, boundaries, and actions. It means aligning our actions with our values and commitments. This can include respecting consent, practicing safe sex, avoiding harm to oneself or others, and not engaging in dishonest or manipulative behavior. Furthermore, having sexual integrity can also involve embracing one's sexuality without shame or judgment, and promoting a culture of mutual respect and acceptance.
What happens when we compromise our integrity
When we compromise our integrity, we betray ourselves. We send ourselves a message that our feelings, desires, and boundaries don't matter. We might feel like we're pleasing someone else or being accepted, but in reality, we're only impacting ourselves.
The impact of compromising our integrity can be profound. It can cause us to feel shame, guilt, and self-loathing. It can lead to a loss of self-respect and self-worth. We might feel like we've betrayed ourselves, and that feeling can linger for a long time. These are the damages that always leave us feeling smaller - the small ‘s’ self.
A lack of sexual integrity can lead to other negative consequences, such as emotional distress, broken relationships, sexually transmitted infections, and unethical behavior. It is important to understand and prioritise your values and boundaries when it comes to sex and make informed and responsible decisions that align with integrity.
The truth is, when we compromise our integrity, we will always feel rotten afterward. Every single time. It’s like the law of gravity. It’s the same result, every time. We might try to brush it off or rationalise it away, but deep down, we know that we've done something that doesn't align with our values or beliefs.
So, what can we do instead?
The answer is simple – prioritise boundaries and communication. Remember, simple does not always mean easy. It can take courage, emotional wherewithal, and getting out of your comfort zone to communicate to the people who need to know. But it is simple and worth it. Let’s start with boundaries.
What are boundaries?
Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves in all areas of our lives, including sex. They're the non-negotiables that define what we're willing for and what we're not willing for. What can make boundaries more complicated, however, is that often, we don’t know we have a boundary - until we have crossed it! We cross the boundary and it’s only when we are on the other side of it that we look back and can point at it and declare, “Oh! That was a boundary for me! I didn’t know it was, but now I do.”
Learning what our boundaries are, takes time and experience - and it often takes crossing the boundary. Otherwise, our boundaries can remain invisible to us. Learning how to take care of ourselves once we’ve crossed a boundary is important. Start with soothing your nervous system. You can use breathwork, guided relaxation or meditation. If you need some guidance with this, download my free 3-part video series on how to soothe your reaction at danicalani.com/soothe.
Journaling or writing can also help untangle and understand what has happened for you. Talking it out with a non-judgemental friend whom you trust can make a world of difference. Not via messaging, I mean in a conversation - a two-way dialogue. Why? Because when you hear yourself speak your own thoughts out loud, you can examine them in a way that is impossible to do inside your head. You will hear something new reflected back to you which will give you the insight you most need.
Consent is the foundation of healthy sexual relationships. It means that all parties involved have given enthusiastic and informed permission for sexual activity. It's essential to remember that consent is ongoing and can be withdrawn at any time. And that means any time, including just before climax. It's not something that can be assumed or coerced. It must be given freely.
The magic word
Sometimes we get very clear and strong messages that we don’t want to continue. But what about those times when we are not sure or we question ourselves? The best course of action is to use one simple word. That word is PAUSE. Pause is a beautiful way to pause the action, breathe and reassess. It feels less intrusive and not as much of an interruption as ‘stop’. And it’s less likely to dampen the intimacy that was building between you.
When we prioritise boundaries and consent, we honor our integrity. We acknowledge our feelings, desires, and limits, and we communicate them clearly to our partners. We also respect their boundaries and consent, creating a safe and consensual space for exploration and intimacy.
It's also important to remember that boundaries and consent are not a one-time thing. They're ongoing conversations that should happen before, during, and after sexual activity. They're also something that can change over time, at any time, and it's okay to revisit them and adjust as needed.
Of course, setting boundaries and giving or withdrawing consent can be challenging, especially if we're not used to doing it. It might feel uncomfortable or vulnerable to express our desires or limits, but it's worth it. When we communicate our needs, we're advocating for ourselves and our well-being.
So how do I communicate effectively with a sexual partner/s?
Communication is key when it comes to setting boundaries and giving or withdrawing consent in sexual relationships. Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively with your partner or lover about this topic:
- Set aside time to talk: It's important to have a dedicated time and space to discuss boundaries and consent with your partner. This could be over dinner or during a walk in the park. Make sure you both have enough time to discuss the topic without feeling rushed or with something else urgently needing your attention.
- Use "I" statements: When discussing boundaries and consent, it's important to use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. For example, say "I'm not comfortable with..." instead of "You always do this...". This way, you're expressing your own feelings and needs without blaming or shaming your partner.
- Be specific: When setting boundaries, it's important to be specific about what you're comfortable with and what you're not. For example, you might say "I'm not comfortable with anal sex" or "I don't like being spanked". This way, there's no confusion about what's off-limits. If you find this difficult to speak about, shame might be lurking and getting in the way of you being able to say the words freely. Remember, shame is always inherited. It doesn’t belong to you. Sometimes you literally have to shake it off.
- Listen actively: Communication is a two-way street. When your partner is expressing their boundaries or concerns, make sure to listen actively. This means giving them your full attention, asking clarifying questions, and not interrupting.
- Respect each other's boundaries: Once you've discussed your boundaries, it's essential to respect them. This means not pressuring your partner to do something they're uncomfortable with, even if it's something you really want. It also means being open and receptive to your partner's needs and boundaries.
- Check in regularly: As mentioned earlier, boundaries and consent can change over time. It's important to check in with your partner regularly to see if their boundaries have shifted. This way, you can adjust your behavior accordingly and continue having a healthy and consensual sexual relationship.
Overall, communication is essential when it comes to integrity and sex. By setting aside time to talk, using "I" statements, being specific, listening actively, respecting each other's boundaries, and checking in regularly, you can create a safe and consensual space for exploration and intimacy.
Communicating boundaries and acting consensually are essential actions to honoring your integrity in sexual relationships. By communicating effectively with your partner, you can ensure that both parties feel safe, respected, and fulfilled. Remember, you deserve to explore your sexuality with integrity, honesty, and respect.
In conclusion, integrity and sex go hand in hand. When we prioritise our integrity by setting boundaries and giving consent, we honor ourselves and create healthy and fulfilling sexual relationships. When we compromise our integrity, we betray ourselves and open the door to regret and pain.
Remember, you are worthy of love, respect, and pleasure. Your boundaries and consent matter, and they deserve to be respected. So, go forth and explore your sexuality with integrity, honesty, and respect. Happy exploring!
The King Coach
P.S. If you’re enjoying this conversation, you’ll love the 5 ways to reignite the spark video and checklist I’ve made for you. It’s all about the #1 problem that keeps queer, lesbian and non-binary couples from having a fulfilling sex life. Go to danicalani.com/spark.
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