Every week, we get a ton of questions asking everything from how to use a condom to how to talk to that cute guy in AP English. When we get a really good one, we want to share it with the world because—chances are—more than one person has the very same question. So, from time to time, we'll be sharing the best of the best (anonymously of course!)...have a question for us? Send us an email!
Question: My boyfriend and I have been dating for 11 months...we're in love. He's had sex already before, but I'm a virgin. I love him but I don't know if I'm ready for sex. How can I tell if I'm ready?
Our Answer: There’s no perfect moment when you’ll suddenly know that you’re ready for sex. Sex is a complicated and personal decision so it’s all about knowing what’s best for you. No one else can tell you when you’re ready but here are a few things you should consider:
- Are you doing this because YOU want to? Or are you thinking about having sex because your b/f wants you to?
- Maybe you’re not sure you’re ready, but your partner is putting on the pressure?
- Do all your friends seem to be having sex, so you feel you should be too?
- Having sex because someone else is pressuring you is not a good reason. Remember, you're in charge of your own life—don't let anyone pressure you into having sex.
It's important to realize that there can be physical and emotional consequences to having sex...if you're not ready to deal with those, then it's better to wait until you're more ready. Another thing to think about is whether you and your partner on the same page. You can’t expect to understand what your partner is thinking or expect them to understand what you’re thinking if you aren’t talking about it. You’ve got to talk with your partner about how they feel about sex, what each of you are comfortable doing, and what each of you will do to prevent pregnancy and STIs. If you can’t talk about sex with your partner, then you’re probably not ready to have it. It’s as simple as that.
Another very important factor to consider is birth control. It’s really important that you know how to protect against pregnancy and STIs. If you’re going to have sex, you have to use birth control consistently and correctly every single time you have sex in order to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs. (remember, hormonal birth control doesn't protect against STIs—only condoms can protect from STIs—so consider using condoms AND another method). This is also something major you should talk to your boyfriend about...and if you feel weird having that conversation, it may be a sign that you're not ready for sex.
The decision to have sex is a BIG one. If you feel comfortable with the situation and have had an open and sincere conversation about sex with your partner, maybe you are ready. But if you aren’t totally comfortable with the decision, then you probably aren't. It might help to talk to someone you trust about the pros and cons of the situation. Even if it seems tough, try talking to your parents and getting their advice. Or try another trusted adult, older sibling, or responsible friend who is willing to talk to you.
There’s no perfect moment when you’ll suddenly know that you’re ready for sex. Sex is a complicated and personal decision so it’s all about knowing what’s best for you. No one else can tell you when you’re ready but here are a few things you should consider: