Reid’s Safer Sex Elevator Speech – UPGRADED for Your P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E.

by Reid on January 28, 2019

Get the hardest conversation out of the way in the Reid-way!

Many people find it difficult to have a safer sex conversation. I used to worry like most people do… What if it ruins the moment? What if they don’t want to sleep with me afterward? What if they think I’m a slut because I brought it up?

… All these what-ifs, combined with the fact that we don’t know what to say or how to say it, leaves most people taking the “let’s let it happen organically” route: saving it for the last possible moment (awkward!) or, worse, passing it up altogether and crossing your fingers while you uncross your legs…

A hawk looking directly at camera with the phrase "HAWKWARD" in LOL Cat-style below it.

Be The Change You Want To See In The Bedroom: Speak up!

Most people learned how to pleasure themselves in silence. We explored our growing bodies behind locked, bathroom doors, or hiding beneath the covers with the lights out. Nary a peep was uttered during our genital reconnaissance missions lest we be discovered and shamed. We basically trained ourselves to be sex mimes!

I believe this tendency towards mime-like silence has woven itself throughout our love lives, making it harder to speak up about safer sex or the kinds of pleasure we like. And if you can’t speak up about it, you sure as heck can’t ask for it, which means you might never get to try it in the first place! So, if you don’t want to stunt your sexual growth, be the change you want to see in the bedroom. Break the cardinal rule of mimes and speak up!

It’s Harder To Speak Up When You Don’t Know What To Say

It’s hard to initiate a conversation when you don’t know what you’re supposed to be saying!

In high school, I took a semester of drivers’ ed so I could qualify for a driver’s permit! I took an entire class just to learn to type (on an electric typewriter, mind you!)… But did we have a safer sex conversation class? Noooooooo. High school would have been a great time for me to practice getting comfortable reciting my STD/STI testing results, rather than telling the classroom how “lovely, dark and deep” Robert Frost’s woods were.

Add the anxiety of having sexual desires, wanting to “do it right,” our culture’s sex-negativity, and a hefty dose of slut-shaming (Nice boys and girls don’t talk about sex! Only sluts and whores negotiate sex!), and no wonder no one wants to be the first to open up their mouths…

a woman with an awkward, uncomfortable face lying beneath a man in bed during sex

What Do You Say? And When?


Here is the P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E. acronym I use to help me recall each of the Safer Sex Elevator Speech’s 8 steps (Thank you, Cathy Vartuli, for suggesting the acronym). Get your free downloadable worksheet below so you can write down your answers for each step and then practice reading it out loud to yourself in the mirror or to a friend or a lover… Let me know how it goes!

Graphic of Reid Mihalko's Safer Sex Elevator Speech P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E. acronym spelled out in circular elevator buttons with a letter of the aplphabet in each, running vertically down the left side, and the explanation in text next to it for what the letter stands for, along with a short explanation of each. P is for Pause for Presence, Power Dynamics & Permission–Take a breath. Can those involved say yes/no freely? If yes, seek permission to share... L is for Last time Tested–Share when were you last tested, what you were tested for, and the  results of those tests. Congrats! The scariest part is out of the way! E is for Essentials About Me–Share whatever “Here”™s how to win with me” info you want them to know! e.g. Pronouns, words not to use, relationship aggrements, etc. A is for Address Your Safer Sex Needs–Share your safer sex protocols, safewords, & whatever needs you have to help address your emotional, spiritual, and physical health. S is for Since My Last Test–Share any updates regarding sexual mishaps/risky behavior (Condom  slipped off? Missed birth control? etc.) that could affect future STI results. U is for Usually Like–Share one or two things that you know you usually enjoy (sexually or non-sexually). Sharing these things doesn't mean it has to happen. R is for Rather Not–Share at least one thing you know you don”™t enjoy sexually or activities or  body parts that are off the menu for you today. E is for Enquire–Invite them to share by asking, "And how about you?" In the bottom right hand corner is a QR code that says "scan me" at the bottom which directs to

P is for PAUSE for PRESENCE, POWER DYNAMICS & PERMISSION — Before you initiate a safer sex talk… Pause and ask yourself, Am I clear and present enough to make aligned choices and notice subtle communications from others in this moment? (Hat tip to Z Griss & ZigZag for their insightful post.) Take a deep breath. Get grounded. Then consider if there are altered states or individual/institutional power dynamics involved that might make it tricky for the other person to say No or Yes clearly and freely. If you’re grounded and they are free to say yes and no, then ask for their permission and consent to proceed. “Would you be willing to have a safer sex conversation with me?” If they say no, thank them for taking care of themselves. If they say yes, proceed to Step 2…

L is for LAST TIME TESTED — When you were last tested for STIs, what did you get tested for, and what were the results of those tests? I like to share the scariest things first and get them out of the way! This makes the rest of my conversation easier. Plus, you’re also modeling for the other person that it’s not shameful to talk about STIs. If you’re like me and you test positive for herpes but don’t always get tested for HSV-1 & 2, I like to include the things I am positive for here.

E is for ESSENTIALS ABOUT ME — Share your “Here’s How To Win with Me Info” and other important details that will give others a heads up on how to create a positive experience with you (and avoid disastrous assumptions)! Here are some examples of things you may want to touch on (More example questions here): Are you in an altered state or distressed state in this moment? What is your current relationship status and sexual orientation? What, if any, relationship agreements do you have that they should know about? What pronouns do you use? Any dirty talk words they should use or not use? Particular words you like to use for your body parts? Words not to use? What is your intention in sharing intimacy and sex in this moment? What are your expectations? What does sharing sexuality usually might mean for you? What are your body’s needs for comfort? Anything about your arousal patterns that would be good for them to know in advance? Any injuries or conditions you’d like to share? Essentials About Me is a great place to inform people about you!

A is for ADDRESS YOUR SAFER SEX NEEDS — Share your safer sex protocols & needs… What are your needs around your emotional, spiritual, and physical health and safety? What barriers do you require for certain types of activities? On birth control? What kinds? Never had a vasectomy? What are your protocols and needs if there is a barrier or contraceptive failure resulting in an unwanted pregnancy or a future positive test for an STI? Sexual practices of your other partners that might be relevant to share? Ways that you like to negotiate kink and power dynamics? Any potential triggers you might have and safewords they should know about? Ways you like to communicate non-verbally or give soft-nos? What about your aftercare/post-sex needs? What are your protocols for handling miscommunications, mishaps, and cleaning up mistakes? These are big conversations, but they get easier the more you practice talking about them. After all, expressing your needs is a sign of sexual maturity and a vital form of self-care!

S is for SINCE MY LAST TEST — Any updates since you were last tested? Any risky sexual activities or mishaps go down since your last test? Did a condom break or slip off? Recently forgot to take your birth control? Got recent news that a lover tested positive for something?

U is for USUALLY LIKE — Share one or two things that you know you usually enjoy (sexually or non-sexually). This may or may not be something you want to do with this person, and sharing it doesn’t mean it has to happen.

R is for RATHER NOT — What don’t you like? Share at least one thing you know you don’t enjoy sexually or activities or body parts that are off the menu for you today. Expressing what you’re a no to is a great way to create trust, show that you know your limits, and have words for them. You’re also modeling that the other person is allowed to have limits, too.

E is for ENQUIRE — The last step is asking, “And how about you?” (And, yes, enquire is actually a word and I’m using it right. Giggle.) This is where you invite the other person to share their safer sex talk… Congratulations! Not only did you just role model for others a great approach to sharing sexual health information and needs, by listening to what they say and how they say it, you’ve got a powerful opportunity to assess where they are in their journey of sexual agency, approaches to sexual health, and ability to use their words!

Get Your FREE Safer Sex Elevator Speech “Cheat Sheet” Download NOW!

Sign up below to get your FREE downloadable PDF that will walk you through crafting YOUR Safer Sex Elevator Speech!

You want to initiate the Safer Sex Conversation because it’s the best assessment tool ever!


Can I Have a Safer Sex Conversation Too Soon?

While I like to have a safer sex conversation sooner than later, there is such a thing as having a sexual health conversation too soon.

Turning to a stranger in an elevator and asking, “Would you like to hear my safer sex conversation?” has an excellent chance of being a creepy, unwanted advance. So you might want to check out TheIntimacyDojo’s 7 Steps for Empowered Asking to help assess if it’s too soon or not. However, if that elevator happens to be located in the hotel of a swingers’ convention and the person next to you asks if you’re going to the orgy in the penthouse suite, well, then initiating a safer sex conversation might land very differently.

woman facepalm gesture with a word balloon saying "Too Soon" in red comic book text. Comic cartoons pop art retro vector comic book cartoon illustration

Generally, asking someone in situations where receptive connection and relatedness around physical intimacy has been established and where bringing up sexual health isn”™t completely out of left field has a good chance of being okay. However, there are no guarantees. Example: You’re out on a date with someone and you’ve been talking about consent and views on sex… Asking if they’ve ever heard of the Safer Sex Elevator Speech and if they’d like to hear yours has a better chance of landing positively than you blurting out your last STI testing results as your opening line to the person at the gym running on the treadmill next to you.

I definitely recommend downloading the handout and practicing your safer sex conversation with friends and loved ones before attempting to use your safer sex elevator speech in pick-up/cruising situations. Why? A little practice goes a looooong way in helping you remember the P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E. steps. If you’re feeling shy, get the free download and consider practicing to yourself in the mirror. Bonus points for voice-recording yourself on your smartphone and then listening to your speech a few times. Rerecord and listen again to improve! Really. Practicing using your words and hearing your own voice using those words can really help your subconscious brain alleviate some of the fear and sex-negativity we’ve all been raised with when it comes to sex and our agency around it.

Scare The Wrong People Away

You will alleviate many of your love life woes by simply upgrading whom you sleep with. How? By scaring the wrong people away. And the best assessment tool/strategy I can offer you? Have your Safer Sex Conversation, and have it sooner. If you scare a potential sexy-time prospect away by initiating an adult conversation on safer sex needs and STI testing, that just means they’re not playing at your level and they did you a favor. You want to be knockin’ boots with the awesome people who are playing at your level. By awesome, I mean people who have high emotional self-awareness and at least a green belt in Sexual Health!

Make your sexual orientation “awesome sexual,” and choose to play with the Einsteins, Dr. Katherine Johnsonses, and Bruce Lees of the sex and relationship world. Why? It doesn’t guarantee that things will always go more smoothly, but it does mean that you’re bumpin’ naughty bits with people who are more likely to be taking their own sexual health into account (and yours by extension) and who will probably bring less drama into your life and bedroom!

After you share your 2-minute, Safer Sex Elevator Speech with someone, you get a load of information about that person’s Emotional and Sexual Self-Awareness when you ask them, “And how about you?” What they say in the next 2-minutes will tell you volumes about how well they know their likes and dislikes sexually, how well they can use their words and speak up about sex, and how you might want to adjust your safer sex protocols for maximum peace of mind and pleasure!

“And How About You?” Speaks Volumes…

Here’s the real gem of being the first to speak up and share your Safer Sex Elevator Speech: Not only did you just break the ice and model that it’s okay to talk about sex and STI results, you also modeled a super direct and easy way for them to share back, which means whatever they tell you in the next 2-3 minutes speaks volumes!

By initiating the safer sex conversation, you’ve created the perfect assessment opportunity to figure out where others are in their sexual and relationship development, if they have ever thought about safer sex conversations or gotten tested for sexually transmitted infections, what they like and don’t like in the bedroom, their relationship status, and their ability to use their words! These are great things to know so that you can adjust your needs and expectations accordingly — and better to do this before you get naked than leave it to the last second.

So the next time you find yourself in an elevator, consider turning to the person next to you and asking them if they’d like to hear you practice your Safer Sex Elevator Speech!

Want To See Other Versions of Safer Sex Conversations?

Here are some Safer Sex Elevator Speech-inspired safer sex convos and approaches I think you might want to check out…

REMEMBER: Don’t Forget to Get Your FREE Safer Sex Elevator Speech “Cheat Sheet” Download NOW!

  • Never have to reinvent the wheel ever again…
  • Feel more confident and less clunky having “the talk”…
  • Inspire and impress your lovers… 
  • Scare the wrong people away while attracting the right ones…
  • Enjoy the sex you’re having MORE!

[The original Safer Sex Elevator Speech blog post was published Aug 12, 2011. This new post was updated with grammar edits, the P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E. acronym, a few new images, the Asking Too Soon section, and links to Safer Sex Elevator Speech inspired creations of others you might find helpful!]

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