I've always wondered what it would be like to wake a partner up with oral sex. It seems like a fun way to help them start the day on a great note. What's stopped me from doing this, though, is the question: Can you wake a partner up with sex consensually? If they're asleep, how can you be sure they're consenting?
"As with intoxication, it's really important to talk ahead of time about your preferences and boundaries regarding sleep sex, and those preferences and boundaries might be different with different partners," Good Vibrations staff sexologist Carol Queen, PhD tells Bustle. "Obviously, getting consent while someone is asleep (or intoxicated) lies on the 'highly problematic to impossible' spectrum. Being awakened by sex is hot for some people, under some circumstances; for others, it's essentially rape."
So, waking your partner up with sex may not even be within the realm of what they're comfortable with, and if they're not, you have to respect that. If they are open to the idea (or you'd like them to do it), you have to carefully plan how it's going to happen so that nobody feels violated. Here's how to wake a partner up with sex in a way that respects their boundaries.
Ask Them In Advance
Queen recommends making sleep sex part of a larger conversation about where your sexual boundaries are. While you're gaging your partner's comfort with BDSM or role-playing, for example, ask them how they'd feel about you initiating sexual activity with them while they're sleeping. "There are all kinds of reasons why some people love this," says Queen. "It's part of the 'we are so turned on to each other we can't even sleep through the night' scenario (but if only one of you is really that turned on, red flag!). There can be a domination/submission element or 'swept away' fantasy to it as well."
Check In Again The Night Before
Just because someone's on board with potentially trying a sexual activity at some undetermined point in the future doesn't mean they're OK with doing it tomorrow. So, Queen suggests also checking in the night before to see if your partner would be open to being woken up with sex the next morning (or in the middle of the night) unless your partner explicitly states that it's OK to do any time.
If The Answer Is "No," Respect That
"A person may not wish to be awakened by intimate contact because they want to run jump in the shower before sex starts; it really hurts when their bladder is disturbed before peeing; they feel out of control of safer sex issues until they're awake; it's frightening to be awakened like this; they just hate it when someone wakes them up; they were DTF the night before but they're not into you that way at dawn," says Queen.
If The Answer Is "Yes" But They Change Their Minds, Respect That
If someone agrees in advance to be woken up with sex, they can still change their minds after you start doing it. Let them know the night before that they can stop you if they want, and if they do, obviously listen. "This would be true of all agreements and negotiations," says Queen. "Consent can be revoked if circumstances change and you state that you no longer want to do the sex thing in question."
So, if you share my fantasy of waking your partner up with a sexy surprise, bring it up with your partner. It is possible to do it in a way that respects their boundaries. Just make sure you talk it through in detail so everyone understands what is and isn't OK — which is really what you should be doing with any sexual act anyway.