Are you dating someone new? Are things going so well that you think you might be ready for sex for the first time?
It’s a big decision to take a relationship to the next level. You may experience a certain level of excitement at finally acting on your mutual attraction. Or you may experience some anxiety about the event itself and how sex might impact your connection.
Naturally, you don’t want drama, hurt feelings, or rejection to turn your good thing bad. But we all know taking the sex step comes with risks.
How do you know if you’re ready?
Maybe you’ve asked friends for advice. Perhaps you’ve scoured the internet and volumes of relationship advice from the experts. Maybe your faith or spiritual beliefs inform your perspective.
If you aren’t sure you ready for sex with someone new, that’s okay. You definitely aren’t alone.
Perhaps you just need to shift your focus a bit. The answer to “am I ready?” is always found inside of you. So, let’s look inward.
6 Clear Ways to Know Sex Is Your Next Best Relationship Step:
1. Live Your Core Values
What matters to you when it comes to connecting with a partner on a physical level? Is it a matter of fun, a future, or faith for you? Are there values or beliefs that, if compromised by sex, are deal breakers for moving ahead?
Whatever they are, don’t sacrifice them. You won’t feel good about yourself afterward. A pile of regrets is a sure way to sabotage what you have with someone else, regardless of chemistry.
2. Reflect on the Past
An important way to know whether you should choose sex now is to consider the last time you made a similar choice. Have you given any time to reflection? Even if it was a painful experience, the circumstances of that decision deserve time.
Did you move too fast or too slow before? Did you overlook key aspects of the experience or overthink it? Was the interlude mutually satisfying and desirable or too one-sided? What aspects of choosing to be sexually linked felt best to you?
Of course, all of that is not to say that a negative experience means you aren’t ready for sex now. It simply informs your choice and teaches lessons.
3. Consider the Way You Want to Feel Afterward
With your values and past assessed, start to think ahead. How do you want to feel after sex for the first time with this person?
Do you expect to spend the next day alone? Or would you like more time with your partner? Do you want to feel safe and loved? Or friendly and unencumbered?
It’s up to you to ensure those feelings are actually part of your connection with your new partner prior to sex. Sex can amplify feelings of closeness and affection… temporarily. However, don’t expect it to create internal feelings or attitudes toward your partner that didn’t exist before.
If you’re hoping sex will make you care more or care less for this person, you should probably delay sex.
4. Assess Your “Morning After” Expectations of the Relationship
Sex is not a reliable way to force permanency or create a lasting connection. Once you understand how you want to feel after sex personally, be sure you are clear on your overall expectations of the relationship.
Many people jump into a sexual relationship, hoping it will solidify a more serious personal relationship. Tell yourself the truth:
What is the relational goal of having sex with this person? Are you secretly hoping sex will keep your new partner interested? Have you planned your whole future together in your head? How will you feel if they disagree with your hopes for your future together?
If you are hoping sex is a path to monogamy, marriage, or a move in either direction, be careful. You may be hurt or disappointed in the end.
5. Consider the Quality of Your Communication
Communication, as always, is key in relationship decisions. Don’t try to determine if you’re ready for bed without including the other person in the conversation!
Whether your relationship is casual or more serious, discuss your wants and needs together. Communicate clearly and honestly what you want and how you picture your time together. Be sure neither of you is making assumptions or jumping to conclusions.
Listen actively. And do consider it a red flag if communication is poor. Being able to equitably, honestly, and comfortably communicate is crucial before moving to the bedroom.
6. Safety is a No-brainer and Non-negotiable
Safety is always, always first. The decision to be reproductively responsible and sexually safe should be mutual and guilt-free. When you can ask questions, honor each other’s bodies completely, and take all of the necessary physical precautions, you are ready for bed.
Do you feel too embarrassed, intrusive, or anxious to inquire about past partners or assert your right to protection? Step back and weigh the consequences. You deserve better.
Being sure you are ready for sex with someone new means being sure of yourself. Sexual decisions can be anxiety-makers if we try to do too much too soon. Don’t rush yourself. Talk it out. Grow your connection. If you’re having difficulty communicating with your partner and needs some help, consider speaking with a relationship therapist.
You can be spontaneous without being careless. You can welcome pleasure and playfulness without putting your heart or body in jeopardy. Most of all, trust yourself and your ability to choose your next sexual adventure with truth, clarity and your own best interests in mind. Enjoy!