Are You Giving Friends The Best Sex & Dating Advice?

Get wise before you advise! LexxieLex has some critical ideas on how to be the most thoughtful, sex-positive and validating friend. We'll respond to audience submitted questions and take yours live from our anonymous chat space.

Are You Giving Friends The Best Sex & Dating Advice?

Are You Giving Friends The Best Sex & Dating Advice?

Are You Giving Friends The Best Sex & Dating Advice?

Updated
July 26, 2019
Medically Reviewed by
4 minute read

When friends come to us for sex advice, are we giving them the best words or wisdom? 

In this stream, sex educator Alex Wilson tells us how to approach those conversations in the most sex positive and thoughtful ways. 

Here are Wilson’s tips to give your friends the best sex advice. 

1. Check in on yourself. 

Before and after giving advice, check in on yourself to see how you’re feeling. If you’re in a negative headspace, it might not be the best time to give advice. For example, you don’t want your immediate response to something to be “Just dump him.” Try to be neutral before using these techniques. 

2. Know you’re not in the relationship. 

No matter how much you think you know your friend’s relationship, you’re not in it. Be careful not to give unsolicited advice. But if your words are wanted, “try to give them advice they're gonna use, not advice you would use because you're not in this relationship,” says Wilson. 

3. Don’t be paternalistic. 

Don’t try to shield or protect your friend from learning lessons they need to learn on their own. 

4. Do be transparent, but don’t be mean, but do be honest. 

Use “I” statements to transparently describe how your friend’s behavior in the relationship makes you feel, but don’t be mean or rude about it. You could, for example, say, “I notice you spend a lot of time with your boyfriend, and I’m feeling a little neglected in our friendship.” 

5. Don’t impose your outlook. 

If your friend is experimenting with BDSM, for example, but that’s not your thing, be careful not to judge. “There's a difference between something being dangerous and something just being something that you don't like,” says Wilson. “So try to know that going in and don't impose your views or your values onto your friend’s relationships.” 

6. Listen to your friend’s relationship goals and prioritize them. 

Before giving advice, ask your friend what they want out of the relationship so you can respond to their needs, not what you think they need. 

7. Communicate concerns if your gut tells you something’s wrong. 

Tell your friend to follow their gut, but follow your gut as well. If you feel something isn’t right, or if something is toxic — communicate that honestly. Use “I” statements, such as “Hey, I feel like this person is isolating you from your friends and family." 

8. ‘Call in’ your friend if you see them exhibiting dangerous or toxic patterns. 

Check your friends by pointing out their patterns. Rather than a call out, where you just call attention to a behavior and state that it’s problematic, frame your concern from a position of caring by using a “call in.” For example, you could say, “You’re really important to me, and I’m gonna tell you why this thing you did wasn’t okay. If you can fix it for yourself, that would be really important." 

9. If you suspect your friend is in an abusive relationship, draw closer to them. 

There are a few signs that may indicate abuse in a relationship: isolation, intimidation, agitation, paranoia, bruises, etc. If you think your friend might be in an abusive relationship, draw closer and show your support. If you can, approach them with their family members to talk about the relationship and to show them they are surrounded by community. “Be very transparent and present with your friends if you think something’s going on,” says Wilson.  

10. Don’t throw bad situations in your friend’s face if they don’t listen to you. 

Don’t say “I told you so,” if your friend doesn’t take your advice and something bad happens. It’s not helpful, and it can be important for a friend to learn on their own.

Wilson goes on to give more advice on how to talk to your friends about their relationships and dating life. Fundamental to all these tips, however, is to always approach your friend from a place of caring and respect. Know that their relationship is not your own, and that ultimately all you can do is offer an ear and some helpful words.

Alex Wilson

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Alex Wilson works professionally as a public health specialist in Baltimore's Johns Hopkins serving the needs of local women. Their work and experience is centered in trauma education, sexuality and gender education, and community outreach. Alex engages in critical discussions about identity, trauma, sex, and sexuality. They believe that if we can understand our attitudes and experiences surrounding sex we can move forward together into a deeper understanding, acceptance and create stronger bonds of community that endure.  

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