Sexual expression is an amazing gift. Sex, in its many different forms, can provide a way to express love, and learn about yourself and the ways in which you communicate with other people. With that said, sex is also deeply personal, and can result in feeling vulnerable to another person. Your reaction to sexual expression is uniquely yours, and only you can determine, in any relationship, when you’re ready to have sex.
Even more importantly, no one ever has the right to pressure you into having sex. If you’re not ready–even if you and that person have had sex before–you always have the right to say no. It can be hard to say “no,” even if you want to; you might feel badly about hurting someone else’s feelings, or feel that there are expectations about what is supposed to happen. But you are the only person who should have control over your body.
MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU
Are you ready for sex?
The best way to prepare for the decision to have sex is to become comfortable with communicating about your needs. Choosing to take part in one kind of sexual activity doesn’t automatically mean that you’re up for anything. The best way to make sure that your limits are understood and respected is to have a partner who not only respects you and your body, but who will talk with you before you have sex about your concerns and boundaries.
Communicating these things before you’re actually in a sexual situation can be very helpful in making sure that you are both on the same page. If you don’t feel right about something, say so! Anyone who challenges your choices about whether or not to have sex is not giving you the respect that you deserve. Pay attention to your feelings, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for making decisions that are right for you.
Your Feelings Are Your Own
Because sex can bring about new feelings, it is helpful to think about your reactions, emotions and possible risks associated with sex. Make sure you take time to think about how to prepare yourself for an experience that could be wonderful, but can also be hard emotionally. These questions can be helpful:
- How will you feel about yourself after you have sex?
- Why is it a good idea to have sex now, with this person?
- How will you feel about your partner after you have sex?
- Can you talk to that person about how you’re protecting yourself against pregnancy and STD/STIs?
If you’re new to sexual activity, have you spoken with someone you trust about how to find and use that protection (i.e. birth control methods, condoms, etc.) correctly?
Choosing abstinence, or making the decision not to have sex at all, is your option at any time. Even if you’ve had sex before, it’s still totally your right to decide that it’s not something that you want to do. You might choose not to have sex at all for a long time; you might decide not to do so after you’ve been sexually active for several years. Remember: it’s your body! Pay attention to your feelings, and give yourself time and space to make the best choice for you.
Asexuality is another thing that might come into play in your life. Being asexual means that you don’t feel sexual attraction to anyone. Remember that it is absolutely normal to experience phases in your life that don’t include sex. However, if you want to learn more about your own feelings of asexuality or feel uncomfortable about them – especially if they come about abruptly – don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor or therapist.