Sex is the highest level of intimacy where a person not only feels vulnerable, and emotional but also passionate. However, it comes with its own set of do’s and don’ts, red flags and green flags. Red flags, regardless of what people say, indicate a need to stop. It doesn’t mean you succumb to that behaviour or settle for it, or that you deserve it in any way. Such behaviours cannot be rationalised by the belief that love is blind. So, we spoke to Ahana Ghosh, Therapist at The Mood Space to understand how to navigate through sex safely and when to know to abort the mission or back out and here’s what she had to say:

So when do we decide we need to ABORT?

Red flags are warning signs indicating unhealthy or manipulative behaviour. It doesn’t include things like leaving your wet towel on the bed, bickering over the television remote, or having a difference of opinion about pets. Instead, a red flag is when you put a mental thumbtack on a kind of behaviour you wish to watch out for.

Sometimes, you don’t realise you missed all the red flags until you have talked to your friends about it, and notice the whole table has fallen silent and everyone is shocked. Paying attention to your gut feeling and reflecting on it can help you recognise these red flags: Why does this feel weird? Why do I feel bad about myself? Does this make me feel unsafe?

If the answer to these questions is ‘Yes’, then you are definitely in the red flag territory and it’s time to ABORT MISSION! Depending on the severity of the behaviour and terms and conditions of your own relationship, red flags can range from either ‘proceed with caution’, to big bold signs asking you to ‘make a run for the hills’.

1. Big On Their Pull Out Game Being Strong

Hearing things like “I don’t like using protection”; “Oh don’t worry I will pull out in time” or being cocky enough to say, “I don’t find any that fit my size”; “wearing condoms isn’t real sex!”; “Long-term partners don’t need them!” while you are all about opting for safe sex unless a consensual choice is made by both
to not use protection, is definitely a red flag!

2. Only A Receiver & Not A Giver

Your pleasure is not their priority, they are either getting dressed or have already dozed off. They expect their partners to go down on them while not returning the same favour or only continuing till the time they get an orgasm, ignoring their partners’ needs. In bed with someone like this? MAKE A RUN FOR IT!

3. Your Orgasm, Their Trophy?

Well, it’s generally a good thing if your partner wants you to orgasm—but if they are obsessed with making you reach an orgasm and they pride themselves on achieving success or get upset when you don’t reach one, then that is a red flag.

4. No = Yes?

“No” does not exist in their vocabulary. Just because your partner is pressuring you to do something you aren’t comfortable with, and you give in, that does not earn you brownie points.

5. A One Track Mind

Instead of accepting and being receptive to your feelings when you explain why you are not in the mood, your partner makes you feel like you’re failing in this relationship because you are not trying hard enough to get in the mood? Trying to make sense of it? Don’t! It simply means their true intention is to just get off!

6. My List Of Favourite To-Dos

Your partner comes in with their manual – it’s all just about their interests and favourite positions even if you have been open about how it may not have worked out for you in the past. Your partner is simply rigid about switching things up in bed.

7. Ew, What’s That?

They’d win the game if queef-shaming earned them buckets of points. It is only very natural for anybody and so laughing could be expected. It should, however, be with you rather than at you.

8. Is It Kink Or Abuse?

According to Kae Burdo, sexuality and relationship educator, “Kink always allows someone a safe space to say no, and the other person will respect it”. However, it is abusive if your partner continues the act way after you have requested them to stop. Kinks, even though thrilling, and terrifying, should be consensual, where both feel respected, supported, and safe. Without that, it becomes a form of abuse.

9. Nice To You Only Before & During Sex?

Is your partner someone who only is good to you and compliments you to get you to bed? And their ignorance game is as strong as it gets after you’ve had sex?

10. Pillow Talk Turned Shaming?

“It’s not like you are not hot now but if you lost some weight you’d be even hotter!” It could even include being asked to remove your body hair because it’s ‘gross?’ Some are weighed down with phrases like ‘too fat or skinny’, ‘too hairy or smooth’, ‘too short or tall’, ‘man boobs’, ‘dad bod’, ‘baby carrot’, ‘tiny pecker.’ Be it body shaming or being shamed about your features, genitals, fantasies, desires and kinks, being intimate with someone who shames you for who you are is simply a DEAL BREAKER!

11. Comparison Is The Thief Of Happy Sex Life

“My ex and I never had this problem” or “My ex-boyfriend was so big, this never happened.” It’s not fair to your partner and it’s certainly not nice. Minimising red flags is a form of self-betrayal. Nobody should have to settle or compromise. If your partner’s behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable it’s a sign that something needs to be addressed and definitely a sign to STOP.

Have you ever come across any of these or other red flags? Tell us in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow @missmalinilifestyle for more updates!