Being ready for sex

It can be hard to know if and when you are ready for sex. You may be feeling a lot of emotions at once – nervous, happy, scared, excited. Or maybe you're not sure how you are feeling at all.

Your decision to have sex is influenced by lots of things, like parents, friends, social media, TV, films, what you learn at school and your society and religion.

Remember that it's important to do what is right for you, not what the people around you may be doing. And it's definitely OK to take your time before deciding what you want.

It's also important for you and your partner to be on the same wavelength – make sure you are both ready for sex before you go ahead. If your partner is someone you have just met and you are considering casual sex, there is just as much reason to think seriously about what you are going to do.

Remember that condoms are the only form of contraception that will protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.

First things first

Before having sex with someone, ask yourself:

  • Can we trust each other?
  • Do we respect each other?
  • Do they like me for who I am?
  • Do I feel comfortable with what I'm about to do?
  • Will we respect each other's privacy by not telling our mates?
  • Have we planned how to keep safe by using condoms and contraception?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, then you are probably not ready to have sex. Give yourself more time and think about these questions again. You can also have this conversation with someone you trust, like a parent or good friend.

Talk first!

If you can't talk to your partner about whether or not you're ready to have sex, then you're not ready. Talking about having sex might seem embarrassing, but it's a lot better than having to worry afterwards that you might have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or that you are pregnant.

Below are some tips to good communication.

  • Say what is truly on your mind – your honesty will encourage your partner to be honest too.
  • Don't wait until the heat of the moment to bring up using condoms and lubricant – talk about it before the situation arises.
  • Try not to be scared of rejection – using condoms doesn't mean you and your partner don't trust each other.

What if one person wants to have sex, but the other one doesn't? Let your partner know that you need support no matter what you decide. And if you feel like your partner isn't giving you the respect you deserve, or that they are putting pressure on you, then it may be time to end the relationship.

Protection, protection, protection

You are definitely not ready for sex if you and your partner haven't talked about protecting yourselves against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy. You need to make decisions about protection before (not during!) vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Don't wait until the heat of the moment to bring it up.

Find out about different types of contraception available and decide together what methods you'll use before the situation arises.

Remember: condoms used with lubricant are the only method of contraception that reduces the risk of STIs and unplanned pregnancy. Lubricant is important because it helps make sure the condom doesn't break during sex.

If your partner doesn't want to talk about contraception, then they are not ready for sex.

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