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Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, or if my brain is just clearing out storage space to fill with new useless information but past relationships have been swirling around my mind a lot. As have some harsh realisations…

I’m not going to sugar coat this next bit; I have had sex with some terrible people. Like, truly awful. For example, the guy I was seeing for a period after college. He regularly cheated on me, constantly pressured me into doing things I didn’t want to and somewhat resembled a frog. And this is not me looking at it through ‘ex-coloured glasses’ either - everyone around me knew he was awful. The fact of the matter is, I was willing to put some terrible behaviour aside for some good dick, if you’ll allow me to be vulgar. Some good, frog-looking dick.

And, I know for a fact I’m not the only one. I think most people go through a phase where they’re willing to accept some less-than-pleasant behaviour from someone they want to be sexual with -  both inside and outside the bedroom. It’s almost a right of passage.

However, the one good thing about having that experience is that it’s taught me exactly how I want a partner to treat me - and in my opinion, how everyone should be treated. So, based on my own experience, here are some ways to be a respectful partner, and if someone you’re thinking of sleeping with is doing these things maybe they’re better avoided. Just a thought.

Respect Boundaries. As far as I’m concerned the number one way to be a good partner to someone is to be respectful of their boundaries. Consent is so important (as I’m sure you’ve heard on here a million times before!) Listen to your partner and respect them enough to abide by the boundaries they set - don’t pressure them and certainly don’t force them to do something they don’t want to. No means no, it’s good person 101.

- Be Attentive. There’s nothing worse than getting it on with someone who blatantly doesn’t care if you enjoy it or not. So many people are guilty of the ‘one and done’ approach to sex. Take the time to build your partner up and pay attention to figure out what does it for them. And on that note…

 - Don’t be Selfish! Essentially, don’t be a selfish git. Now the midnight munchings don’t always have to be tit-for-tat (in fact that kind of predictability can get real boring, real fast) but try to keep an overall balance between yourself and your partner about who goes down on whom. Keep it fun, keep it spontaneous, but also keep it mutual. Simple.

- Be Discreet. Now I’m not saying be a prude, or never talk about sex but unless your partner explicitly consents you really should keep what happens in the bedroom, in the bedroom. I’ve heard so many tales of guys leaking conquest’s nudes to their lad pal group chats or even sneaking a quick smutty snap during the act itself for bragging rights. This is a complete and total abuse of someone else’s trust. Just don’t do it. The same can be said for boasting about boinking tales; the phrase “don’t kiss and tell” exists for a reason. It’s not cool and (let me share a secret) nobody else thinks any more highly of you for it either.

- Be Kind. This one should be straightforward enough. Don’t be mean about someone’s body, don’t make them feel bad about their preferences and don’t hurt them if you can avoid it. If you don’t know how to go about these things you shouldn’t be allowed around other people full stop, let alone given access to their bodies.

In short, don’t be a dick...and don’t sleep with dicks (I’m going to avoid the obvious joke.) It doesn’t seem like something that needs to be said but hey, maybe someone reading this needs to hear it. As for me and prospective partners, I now stick to the rules above. Just like Aretha Franklin, all I'm looking for is a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T  and tbh I won’t settle for less. You shouldn't either.