How to Know if Your Relationship is Ready for Sex

Couple being intimate in the bath tab

Sex can change your life and relationships. Having sex may affect the way you feel about yourself or how others feel about you.

Many dating couples believe waiting until they are ready to have sex is important. The right time is different for each couple. For example, some couples may want to wait until they are married; others may want to wait until they feel their relationship is ready.

You may feel that your relationship is ready when:
➤You can be completely honest and trust the other person, and the other person can trust you.

➤You can talk with the person about difficult topics, such as feelings, other relationships, and if the person has had a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

➤You can be responsible, protecting yourself and your partner against STIs and pregnancy with condoms and birth control.

➤You can respect the other person's decisions about not having sex and about using protection.

However, if you are in love or really like someone, you may ignore the signs of an unhealthy relationship.

The following signs mean your relationship is not ready for sex:
➤Your partner is jealous or possessive. For example, your partner prevents you from spending time with your family or other friends, regularly texts or instant messages you, or checks your cell phone to see who you are talking with.

➤Your partner pressures you to have sex and refuses to see your point of view.

➤Your partner manipulates you by either bullying you or threatening to hurt himself if you end the relationship.

Why Wait?

There's nothing wrong if you decide to wait. Not everyone is having sex. Some of the reasons why waiting to have sex makes sense:

Sex can lead to pregnancy. Are you ready to be pregnant or become a parent? It's a huge responsibility. Are you able to provide food, clothing, and a safe home for your baby?

Sex has health risks. A lot of infections can be spread during sex. Sexually transmitted infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, herpes, HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), human papillomavirus (HPV), or syphilis.

Sex can lead to emotional pain and distractions. You may feel sad or angry if you let someone pressure you into having sex when you're not really ready. You also may feel sad or angry if you choose to have sex but your partner leaves you. Your partner may even tell other people that you had sex with her.

If you decide to wait, stick with your decision. Plan ahead how you are going to say no so you are clearly understood. Stay away from situations that can lead to sex.
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