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The STARS Talk is a framework that helps one to have meaningful and intimate, consent-based discussions that are vital for healthy relationships​​​​​. 

Health education to liberate sexuality!


learn more about each letter!

 S:  Safety

My Sexual, Emotional, Spiritual, Cultural and Psychological Safety Needs

Safer sex is not just condoms and contraception. 

Feeling safe is the MOST important aspect of good sex and a healthy relationship. The STARS Talk is about co-creating a safe space by communicating all the areas that safety is needed. This goes beyond the "safer sex talk" of STIs and pregnancy prevention. Exploring the areas of emotional, physical, spiritual, cultural and psychological safety is essential. 

For example: 

  • The use of alcohol and/or other intoxicants

  • What your body feels like when it doesn't feel safe

  • Mental health and emotional factors 

  • Your relationship with spirituality and sex, or your religious values and sex

  • Cultural values and traditions

  • What your body can or cannot physically handle



To explore what your Safety Needs are, use the STARS Talk Relationship Workbook! 

Lesbian Couple

 T:  Turn-ons

My Experience and My Disclosures Regarding Sexual Health

We are not mind readers. Even people in long-term relationships can’t always tell what their partners want or desire. Learning how to be with a new partner requires openness to talking, listening, and observing. Expressing desires and exploring together can be one of the most exciting aspects of a developing sexual relationship, but even in a one-time encounter, letting the other person know in advance what you enjoy and can agree upon together will greatly improve the experience for both of you. As you question, explore, and grow sexually, you will discover that it can be an amazing tool for deepening your understanding of yourself.

The best way of getting pleasure and joy is to discuss it openly and directly.​

Some examples are below. ​

  • I get turned on by: Conversation, Kissing, Eye-gazing, Compliments/Validation, Sexting, Dirty Talk, Romance, 

  • My favorite places to be touched are....

  • My most erotic zones are....and I like to be touched lightly/hard/scratch/pinch/tickle

  • I like receiving/allowing....

  • I enjoy performing/giving....

  • I enjoy kinky/vanilla sexual activity

To understand and explore your Turn Ons, use the STARS Talk Relationship Workbook! 

 A:  Avoids

My Aversions, My Boundaries and My Triggers

Boundaries are critical to healthy relationships. Being able to express both your desires and your avoids create consensual relationships that are meaningful and pleasurable. 

What should your partner avoid saying/touching/doing (or avoid asking you to say/touch/do)?

Sometimes we know our triggers, and other times we discover them unintentionally.

Something that is a “no” right now could change in the future, but being informed helps ensure that one partner doesn’t make assumptions that could negatively affect the experience for both of you. 

Some examples are: 

  • A big turn-off for me is when someone does...

  • Right now I am not interested in...

  • I have trauma and triggers that I want to share with you.

  • Something that happened that I didn’t like was:..

Image by Anthony Tran

To figure out and communicate your Avoids, use the STARS Talk Relationship Workbook! 

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 R:  Relationship Intentions and Expectations

This Is Who I am, What Sex Means To Me, What I Expect From Sexual Partners

​Intentions and expectations may be very difficult to discuss. Sometimes we don’t even know what we want with that person. Sometimes we do and telling them can feel very vulnerable. Talking about intentions up front leads to a better understanding of what is and isn't possible. While we have no control over other people, hoping that they will change through sex often leads to emotional distress.


This may be the place that takes the most practice and letting go of fear. It is not something we are taught to be honest about, much less discuss.​

Some examples are:​

  • My sexual orientation is...

  • My gender and pronouns are...

  • I am looking for a hook-up/a long term relationship/FWB/non-monogamous dating

  • When I have sex, this is what it means to me...

  • My after sex needs and expectations are...

To organize and deepen your Intentions and Expectations, use the STARS Talk Relationship Workbook! 

 S:  Sexual Health and STI Status

My Experience and My Disclosures Regarding Sexual Health

Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are difficult to discuss. The stigma over sexuality can make it challenging to be comfortable bringing up health issues. While we may not be used to doing so, openly talking about health brings far more pleasure to our activities than pretending these issues do not exist. 

Sexual Health issues to consider are: 

  • Sexual function issues such as erections, orgasmic ability, and genital dysphoria. 

  • Changes that can occur with any insertive play such as yeast and bacterial infections.

  • Medications or health related problems that can affect sexuality 

  • What you need to stay sexually healthy and well

Image by Jamie Street

STIs are caused by bacteria, parasites and viruses that are passed from person to person by sexual or sensual contact. Yet not all STIs are caused by sex (some are caused just by skin to skin contact) and sex does not cause all STIs.

Testing and knowing the status of one’s partner prior to sexual contact can reduce the risk of catching and spreading infections. 

For More Sex-Positive information on STIs and Sexual Health, download the DeSTIgmatize STIs e-Book and STARS Workbook!

Make Time For The Talk!

Jamie from "Given Consent" Discusses How to Navigate STARS

"Be Prepared With Your Personal Safer Sex Talk"

A walkthrough of Dr. Evelin Dacker's STARS Workbook on relationships and safer sex. 

Follow along and fill it out with me to make your own at home!

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