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Risky Business: Helpsheet

Some helps and walkthroughs to create your own toolboxes and hone your skills based on Risky Business: Learning to Consider Risk and Make Sound Sexual Choices.

My Core Inventory/Ground Zero/Manifesto for Sexual/Intimate Choices:

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If you feel stuck, it might help to cover one bare basic with each: like what you need, most basically, in terms of 1) your emotional well-being, 2) your physical well-being, 3) your immediate aims, wants and goals, 4) your long-term aims, wants and goals, and 5) your personal core beliefs, ethics or values.

Things To Help Cool Hot Decision-Making Situations For Me:

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Examples:
1. Ask to step outside for a minute, take some deep breaths, and walk around the block.

2. Remind myself of my core inventory.

3. Set a deadline to revisit a decision, giving myself the amount of time in between I think I need to think it through well.

4. Tell the other person if and when they are making things more "hot," and say I need them to cool down so I can think.

Things I Know Can Mess Me Up & Ways to Make Room for Them:

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Examples:
1. When someone else speaks for me, talking about what I have said I wanted in the past. I can make room for that by asking that person to let me speak for what I want now myself, and tell them that while what I have said in the past matters, is important, and might even be the same now, I need to be the person speaking for my wants in the moment so I can keep in touch with what they are.

2. When I feel tired or worn out. I can ask to table a situation or issue for the next day, when I have had time to rest and recharge my brain.

3. When I overthink things. I can give myself a limit of ten minutes to think something through, make a decision, and see how I feel about that choice in the most basic way -- is it more yes or more no? -- and then go with that gut feeling. I can also make sure to just opt out of choices and situations that feel much too big for me.

What I Need to Be Active, Not Passive:

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Examples:

1. I need the other person involved to clearly support me taking an active role, and make as much room for my wants, needs and feelings as they are making for theirs.

2. I need to push myself to say what I am thinking and feeling, pushing past moments of worrying what the other person will think, and dealing with how I might feel about their reaction later, not before I take an active role.

3. If speaking is difficult for me, I need to try different channels for communicating, like writing a letter or email instead.

Sexual Decision-Making Emergency Numbers

Make a list of individuals, organizations/centers, websites or other credible, reliable resources you know you can count on when making tricky sexual/intimate choices for sound information, support and good advice, and also feel pretty comfortable talking to openly and honestly. Keep it handy or in mind when you need it. Since some people/places might be great for information, but not ideal for support or vice-versa, you can make notes about who is best for what, if you like.

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Examples:
1. My best friend (Support)

2. My aunt/uncle (Support)

3. Scarleteen (Information/online support) :)

4. Dad (Information/support)

5. The nurse at my health center (Information/support)

6. My favorite sex/relationships reference book (Information)

Visualize Now & Later

Sit down with pen and paper (or keyboard and fingers) and just write out, going with gut feelings and dreams, what you ideally want your life to be like now and what you what for your life later, like 10 or 20 years from now. Take time after doing that to look at them both, think about what things support both sets of dreams, what doesn't, what would derail either, what wouldn't, what might create conflict between something you did or went after now and what you want later.

The life I want right now:




The life I want later on:





Practice Scenarios with Risk:

Here are just a few possible situations around sexuality and sexual/intimate relationships you can use to walk yourself through and get some practice with decision-making. These may or may not be things you have faced or will face, but even if they aren't, going through them with an outsider's perspective can still be good practice.

1. Having sex without safer sex and contraception:
a) Possible Unwanted Outcomes
b) Wanted Outcomes
c) How likely, realistically, are each? If uncertain, do some research to find out more.
d) Weigh the potential benefits (wanted things) against the potential losses (unwanted things): what's worth it?  What isn't?
e) Evaluate what choice you think is best after that process.
Still undecided? Then:
a) Try different decision-making techniques, like considering the opposite choice, seeing the situation from an outsider's perspective, and/or just going with your gut feelings.
b) Consider different alternatives, like having sex with those things, having kinds of sex where neither of those things are needed, or not having sex at all at that time, and then
c) Make a decision.

2. Asking someone to do something sexual with you you want, but aren't sure they do:
a) Possible Unwanted Outcomes
b) Wanted Outcomes
c) How likely, realistically, are each? If uncertain, do some research to find out more.
d) Weigh the potential benefits (wanted things) against the potential losses (unwanted things). What's worth it?  What isn't?
e) Evaluate what choice you think is best after that process.
Still undecided? Then:
a) Try different decision-making techniques, like considering the opposite choice, seeing the situation from an outsider's perspective, and/or just going with your gut feelings.
b) Consider different alternatives, like waiting a little longer to get a better sense of how the other person feels, waiting until -- and if -- they put that thing on the table first, or suggesting something else you know they or you feel is a "step" to the initial sexual thing you had in mind, then
c) Make a decision.

3. Engaging in sex with someone when they're drunk:
a) Possible Unwanted Outcomes
b) Wanted Outcomes
c) How likely, realistically, are each? If uncertain, do some research to find out more.
d) Weigh the potential benefits (wanted things) against the potential losses (unwanted things).  What's worth it?  What's not?
e) Evaluate what choice you think is best after that process.
Still undecided? Then:
a) Try different decision-making techniques, like considering the opposite choice, seeing the situation from an outsider's perspective, and/or just going with your gut feelings.
b) Consider different alternatives, like connecting with that person again once they're sober, finding someone else to be sexual with, if that's what you want, who IS sober, or just ditching the whole situation, then
c) Make a decision.

4. Choosing to enter into either an exclusive or open relationship (pick whichever model would be a more challenging/difficult choice for you):
a) Possible Unwanted Outcomes
b) Wanted Outcomes
c) How likely, realistically, are each? If uncertain, do some research to find out more.
d) Weigh the potential benefits (wanted things) against the potential losses (unwanted things). What's worth it?  What's not?
e) Evaluate what choice you think is best after that process.
Still undecided? Then:
a) Try different decision-making techniques, like considering the opposite choice, seeing the situation from an outsider's perspective, and/or just going with your gut feelings.
b) Consider different alternatives, like alternate relationship models altogether, adding certain conditions to either of those models, or choosing not to enter into the relationship at all, then
c) Make a decision.

5. Showing someone you're sexually involved with or might be a part of your body you feel insecure about:
a) Possible Unwanted Outcomes
b) Wanted Outcomes
c) How likely, realistically, are each? If uncertain, do some research to find out more.
d) Weigh the potential benefits (wanted things) against the potential losses (unwanted things). What's worth it?  What's not?
e) Evaluate what choice you think is right after that process.
Still undecided? Then:
a) Try different decision-making techniques, like considering the opposite choice, seeing the situation from an outsider's perspective, and/or just going with your gut feelings.
b) Consider different alternatives, like showing that body part to someone you aren't sexually involved with first, not sharing that body part with this person, but talking to them about your insecurities around it, or taking more time to do things that would make you feel more safe and secure with them first, then
c) Make a decision.

6. Making a choice -- pick one: abortion, adoption or parenting -- about an unplanned pregnancy happening right now:
a) Possible Unwanted Outcomes
b) Wanted Outcomes
c) How likely, realistically, are each? If uncertain, do some research to find out more.
d) Weigh the potential benefits (wanted things) against the potential losses (unwanted things).  What's worth it?  What's not?
e) Evaluate what choice you think is right after that process.
Still undecided? Then:
a) Try different decision-making techniques, like considering the opposite choice, seeing the situation from an outsider's perspective, and/or just going with your gut feelings.
b) Consider all the alternatives, in this case, your other two options, or different ways of going about a given option, then
c) Make a decision.

 

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

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