It’s pretty safe to say that most of us won’t wait until marriage to have sex. This is a claim that probably would have made people clutch their pearls 50 years ago (even though people weren’t really waiting then either), but these days is understood as a cold, hard truth. Now, we’re more progressive with our language when it comes to sex, especially teens having sex: Only do it when you’re ready.
But how the hell do you know that you’re ready to have sex?
The answer to that question is obviously different for everyone. Some would say that you’re ready to have sex when you’re in love with someone you’ve been with for a very long time. Others would say that as long as you have a good understanding of safe sex and the consequences of not having safe sex, you’re ready to have sex. And then there are people who are age focused; they’ll claim that you’re probably ready to have sex at 17-years-old, but not at 16-years-old, based on nothing but their own gut feeling.
It’s clear that coming up with signs that you’re ready to have sex is tricky. It’s not like you wake up one day and think, “Ah, yes, today is the day I finally do the nasty.” And you can’t trust your body to give you hints either; I mean, the body technically hints that you’re ready to have sex and a baby when you start menstruating, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t ready to have sex when I was figuring out how to use a maxi pad as a 10-year-old. Yikes. It’s a lot less tricky, however, to think of some reasons why someone isn’t ready to have sex yet…and there are plenty. If you want to know where you (or a potential partner) stands on that front, check out these seven signs that you’re actually not ready to have sex yet. Hey, you do you, but don’t say we didn’t warn ya.
You Feel Like You're Ready To Do It Because, Hell, Everyone Else Seems To BeYour best friend has had sex. Some other people in your friend group have had sex. Your younger brother has had sex. That girl in your grade who is obsessed with horses and has been dating the same guy for, like, three years has probably had sex by now. You might be thinking, "If all of them are ready to have sex, why shouldn't I be?" Well, here's the thing: You're you, you're not them. People have sex at different times for all different kinds of reasons. Some of them probably felt ready, but I assure you that many of them didn't, probably for reasons like the ones on this list. You don't know how many girls only had sex because they felt pressured into it by their boyfriends. You don't realize how many people are like you and haven't had sex yet, even if they--for whatever reason--seem like they'd be experience in the sex department. I know it's cliche to say that you should follow your gut and not care what other people do...but you should really follow your gut and not care what other people do. Don't let other people's sexual repertoire or milestones determine your own. My So-Called Life
You Feel Like You're Being Pressured Into It By Your PartnerListen, if you're busy convincing yourself that you're ready to have sex largely because your partner is pressuring you to have sex, you're not ready. Your partner might not be trying to be intentionally malicious, but this is actually ten levels of effed up. Don't let your partner tell you that you're ready if you just don't feel ready in your gut, period. A good partner doesn't try to mess with your head to get their way. Listen to your body and your conscience; that will always take priority over a dude's hard on. Skins
You Don't Know How Your Bits WorkFor example, you're someone with a vagina and yet you don't know what your clitoris is or where it is. The clitoris is so essential to enjoyable sexual experiences, yet you don't know a thing about it, and you're about to have sex? Uh, do yourself a favor and hold off until you figure out the power of the clit. You can thank me later. Freaks and Geeks
Your Guilt Already Overrides Your DesireWhether it's religious guilt or weird feelings you know are probably pretty gendered but can't quite shake...guilt around sex is real. We live in a society that is both so oversexed and values sexiness so much...and yet is also super judgemental about people actually having sex. That guilt is real, and maybe you'll always feel it deep down. But it'll recede and won't feel so strong someday. That's the day when you can start to think seriously about having sex. Until then, don't throw yourself into an ugly guilt spiral just to prove that you can have sex without feeling guilty about it. It...probably won't work. Give it time, sis. But I'm A Cheerleader
You Haven't Even Seen Each Other NakedOkay, maybe this isn't as big of a criteria as some of the others on this list, but come on! Yes, you can technically have sex with your clothes on, but do you want the first time your partner sees your most intimate bits and pieces to be the same time you have sex? You'll probably benefit from having--for lack of a better phrase--a lay of the land beforehand, honestly. American Pie
The Thought Of Sex Low Key Terrifies YouIf the idea of having sex--even with someone you love--fills you with a sense of dread, please, listen to that dread. It's not like ripping of a bandaid. That dread is going to stay with you when you're trying to get it on, and the anxiety will not only make sex a less pleasant experience emotionally, it could physically make sex painful or incredibly difficult. Look, I'm not saying that you have to be fearless when you have sex for the first time. I'm certain that everyone is scared the first time they have sex. But there's a difference between a healthy amount of fear--it's a fear that doesn't persuade you from abandoning your sex mission--and fear that leaves you sweating and borderline nauseous. If you experience the latter, you aren't ready yet, and that's okay. Michael Jackson VEVO
You Don't Actually Know How To Use A CondomCondoms aren't rocket science, but that doesn't stop people from making really stupid decisions with them. For example, people have worn condoms inside out, only to realize their mistake, flip it the right way, and start having sex without realizing that they should have just thrown it away to reduce the chances of spreading an STD or sperm (hello, accidental pregnancy). Some people even continue to double up their condoms as if that offers better protection (it doesn't), or use oil based lubricants which can damage latex. Guys, condoms need to be used with care, and being clueless about their use is a recipe for disaster. Know everything you need to know about condoms before you have sex. Otherwise, you aren't ready. Mean Girls
What other signs should be on this list? Do you think there’s a definitive way to know that you’re ready to have sex? Tell us in the comments!