We live in a culture where shame surrounds sexuality. Many people are unaware of their sexual desires, fears, boundaries and intentions when it comes to relationships. Honest sex positive communication can lead to better relationships, increased joy and improved health. STARS is a format that helps aid these discussions with self-awareness, accountability and communication. STARS stands for STI (sexually transmitted infections) Status, Turn-Ons, Avoids, Relationship Expectations/Intentions, and Safer Sex Etiquette.
Knowing and telling partners of one’s STI status has been shown to reduce transmission of all sexually transmitted infections. Turn-ons allows the co-creation of a relationship based on enjoyment and exploration. Avoids helps reduce possible triggers, trauma and creates healthy boundaries. Both Turn-Ons and Avoids require self-awareness of boundaries and solidifies consensual interactions. They are ever-evolving and flexible throughout one’s life and experiences. Relationship intentions helps set the stage for what is desired and reduces false expectations between people. Safer Sex Etiquette is the perfect place to end by discussing plans to reduce STI’s and undesired pregnancy.
The STARS format encourages open sexual communication in order to create consensual, healthy relationships, reduce the risk of trauma and increase overall joy and wellness in one’s life. Promoting communication will help reduce the current culture of sexual silence and shame that is endemic in our culture. Sex positive changes will reduce rape culture and promote healthier lives.