October marked Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here is a recap of how to maintain a healthy relationship in nine innings:
1st Inning At the bottom of the 1st, while your team is at bat, make sure you ask consent from your partner before your team even steps up to the plate. This could be in the form of asking someone you like out for coffee, inviting them to a concert, or, post season, inviting them to watch the Red Sox win the World Series at Fenway Park. This type of engagement is also known as a date and can be really fun. Being nervous on a date is part of the fun!
2nd Inning By the second inning, maybe you’re still a little nervous about the game. But keep in mind, there is no need to get a score on the board too quickly. Patience and flirtation can add to the mystery of dating. Simply holding hands and making nervous phone calls to tell the other person you enjoyed seeing them is more than enough to the keep butterflies in the tummy (and in the outfield).
3rd Inning Wow! The 3rd inning leaves you both flushed! You and your partner have now practiced safer sex three times since you met. You have used condoms as a barrier method of choice to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and your partner informed you that they prefer the IUD as a from of birth control. Not only are you communicating well with one another, but your favorite baseball team scored a triple and are that much closer to the Pennant!
4th Inning The 4th inning indicates another exciting turn in the relationship! Perhaps some of your friends warn that you are taking things quickly, but the important thing is you are enjoying yourselves and the company of your partner. If you are both communicative and consensual, there is not such thing as “too quickly.”
6th Inning The relationship has taken a little bit of a lull at this point and neither of you are sure if you are still dating, if you were ever dating, or if you just had a few good sex positive flings. The important part at this point in a new relationship is not to get too heady or to panic. If it’s meant to move forward as a longer term life partnership, simply morph into a casual sex partnership, or quietly fizzle out, those things will be made clear in time. All are ok.
7th Inning Kama Sutra! Need I say more about the 7th Inning Stretch?
8th Inning The good news about the 7th Inning Stretch is by this time it’s been made clear the relationship is moving in a very good and passionate direction. It’s healthy to have worries a little bit after the honeymoon period. It’s possible that even one of you might have hooked up with someone else during the “courting” phase of the relationship. In baseball terms, this is sometimes called a “Pickle.” As long as safer sex was practiced by all partners involved, all of these things are normal parts of a healthy relationship.
9th Inning By this time, the relationship is well on its way to hibernating for the winter. Perhaps you two will continue dating and building a strong partnership for life. Perhaps the winter months will give you both cabin fever and make you realize that, though you had fun in the first few innings, now might be a good time to amicably step away as sexual partners, but keep the door open as friends. This can be tricky, but with patience and positivity, it can be done.
Till next season: Play Ball!