This is the second part of my series about being ready for sex. The first part is here.
Are you in a healthy sexual relationship? Or are you thinking about having sex for the first time?
When it comes to sex no one is looking out for you, it is not something you want to bring your parents or friends along for and your partner will have their own motivations, so you must make sure you are looking out for yourself. Sex can be one of the best experiences in the world, or one of the worst. It is natural to feel a bit apprehensive before having sex for the first time, or with someone new but how do you know if it it just nerves, or a warning that it shouldn’t be happening yet? Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to make sure that you are about to have good and healthy sex.
Some questions to ask yourself
- Do I feel sexually aroused? Let your body lead you and then follow with your head. If your head is thinking “I think I might like to have sex, I wonder what it would be like…it would make a lot of sense to have sex with this person because…” I would say you are not quite ready. If your body is aroused and you feel strong desire to have sex, then you follow that with the head “am I emotionally ready?… Is this the right relationship to make this move?…How will I do this safely?…” that is the best way round for the most enjoyable experience. If you are not turned on by your partner for whatever reason then sex will certainly be an uncomfortable experience.
- Does it feel right? Do you have any nagging doubts or funny feelings that you are suppressing because they don’t make sense to your rational mind? Sex is not always totally rational and if you ignore what your instincts are telling you it is quite likely to be an experience that you will regret. Having spoken to many women on the subject of sex the consensus is that if it feels right and is something you really want then you are unlikely to have regrets. If it is something you are talking yourself into you are likely to regret going through with it.
- Why do I want to have sex? Could I have regrets afterwards? There are many reasons people have sex (keeping up with friends, to impress, to keep someone, for control, to make yourself feel attractive, because you can, for a good story, to make someone feel better, afraid to say ‘no’, too drunk to say ‘no’, the list goes on…) but it is only good for your health and well-being if that reason is because you really want to.
- Do I feel able to say ‘no’ at any point if I change my mind and will we both be ok with that? This applies at any stage of a relationship – even if you’ve been together for years you reserve the right to stop at any time.
- Do you love or at least trust your partner? In my discussions with men and women they would agree that the more deeply you feel for a person the more remarkable sex is.
- Do you care for each other equally? If it’s a fling it’s important you both know this. And some people take relationships more seriously than others. When I was younger I didn’t take relationships that seriously but the feeling was not always mutual. At least one of my relationships broke up because I didn’t necessarily see it as “forever” but “for now” and the other person wasn’t happy with that.
- Is your partner keen to spend time with you? If you are going to be close you need to be a priority. Do you enjoy spending time together that is not reliant on sexual tension or having sex? I once had a boyfriend who said to me “Can we just talk, we’re always having sex” (guess what happened after that comment, yes, more sex!) He was joking but it was true, our relationship was based almost completely on sexual chemistry and we had nothing in common.
- Do you respect your partner as a person and admire what he/she stands for and do you feel respected in return?
- Are you free to be yourself? One woman I spoke to said she finally felt what it was like to be herself in a relationship in her third marriage in her fifties!
- Are you proud to be seen with them? Are they someone you could introduce to your family and/or friends? I often had “boyfriends” who would never have fit in with my family or social circle and if I was honest I was proud to be seen with them for all the wrong reasons, for example, the shock factor…
- Are you comfortable telling him/her what is on your mind? Communication is crucial in a relationship. As a rule, if you can’t bring yourself to discuss contraception with them, it is not a great idea to be having sex with them. Are you comfortable enough with this person to at least have a conversation about staying safe during sex? Have you both talked about using condoms and was the talk ok? Have you both got contraception organised to protect against pregnancy?
- Am I filling a gap? Do I know myself well and do I have my own interests and hobbies? Having sex because we have nothing better to do is not healthy for our self-esteem or mental health. If you are feeling generally needy or unloved there are far better and more healthy ways to feel good about yourself.
- Lastly but most importantly are you happy with the idea?…I’d be happy if (fill in the blank) doesn’t count! Happy does not include: You think it’s all that you deserve. You think it’s all that you can get. You are afraid of commitment. You are lonely. You want a confidence boost.
It is important to decide what you want from a relationship. If sexual experience is all you are after and are happy to find that with no strings attached then as long as you are truly happy with that (check with yourself, then check again) it is your choice. In this case you may want to stop reading after the first six points but for anyone who is keen to have a more committed relationship please think about all of the above. These are the basics of what you deserve. Anything other than this and it can affect you mentally and emotionally.
Signs it’s too soon
- You’re not entirely comfortable with each other
- You’re dreading the morning after
- You’re not sure the other person wants it too
- You’re not ready for the relationship that might follow
- You don’t feel turned on
- You don’t want to