Am I ready for sex?
Here are some signposts to help you make the smart move in deciding whether first time sex is for you.
Knowing when the time feels right is a personal decision, whether you're in a relationship or up for something more casual.
So how can you be sure that you're ready? Whether you're a virgin, a die-hard romantic or a porn star, the most important thing is to be safe and feel happy with your situation. Admittedly there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sex and relationships, but there are ways that you can feel more confident about the choices you make.
You know what consent is all about
Sex is a choice. It is not a compulsory subject. Whoever you're with, it means any kind of sexual activity has to be a joint agreement - something you both consent to rather than something you are doing just because you feel you should.
You understand the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Crucially, you've taken steps to protect yourself before sex becomes a reality. Get to grips with the different contraceptive methods available that guard against unplanned pregnancy. Just be aware that condoms are the only form of contraception that can stop pregnancy and sex infections.
Nearly 40% of you have sought out advice about having sex for the first time, according to our Sexual Health Survey.
You're cool about carrying condoms.
Whatever your outlook or experience of sex, even if you're still a virgin, it's always wise to be prepared. Nobody will assume you're expecting sex. If anything, having a condom at the ready simply shows respect for yourself and whoever you might strike lucky with.
You can talk about sex
Not just with your mates, but the person you're thinking of sleeping with. The closer you are to each other, the easier it is to talk openly. Don't duck out of the conversation if sex is on the cards with someone new - if anything, it makes that chat more pressing.
You can talk about feelings
Sex isn't just a physical act. A level of emotional intimacy and trust is involved whether you're in a long-term relationship or not. So be clear about your feelings and expectations, and negotiate boundaries. It won't guarantee that the sex will be mind-blowing, but it will minimise the chances of feeling let down and used later on.
You're happy to seek help and advice
There's no need to pretend you know it all, and if you're considering sex for the first time it's only natural to have questions. If those questions can't be addressed with your partner, put sex on hold and find out together. It's better to wait until you're ready, than to rush in and simply hope for the best.
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