06 July 2005

I think I'm ready for sex - now what?

What should you consider if you feel ready for sex? And what do you do if you would rather wait?


Set limits
Think about how far you want to go and set your own limits. How do you feel about mutual masturbation? Oral sex? Vaginal intercourse? Anal intercourse? Don't do anything you don't want to do. Make sure your partner knows how you feel and is willing to respect the limits you set.

Prevent pregnancy
Talk to your partner before you have sex about birth control and choose an effective method that you will use every time you have sex.

Protect yourself and your partner
If you or your partner have had sex before, get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI). Use a condom every time you have sex.

Be realistic
Sex can be a wonderful part of a caring relationship, especially when you and your partner can talk openly and honestly about what you want. But be realistic. Movies and television have led us to believe that rockets will go off when we have sex. Sex is something you learn together over time. It is not an amusement park ride, a guarantee of commitment or a cure for a bad relationship.

I don’t think I'm ready for sex. Now what?
Say "no."

You have the right to say "no" to sex and you should not feel guilty about your decision. Saying "no" has many advantages. You do not have to worry about unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections. You have more time to think and talk about your relationship with your partner.

You do not have to explain your reasons for saying "no." But if your partner is pressuring you to have sex, here are some simple responses to common pressure lines:
"You would if you love me."
If you really loved me, you wouldn’t push me.

"Everybody’s doing it."
You won’t have trouble finding someone then!

"I need you. I have to have it."
No you don't. If I can wait, so can you.

"If you don't, I'll find someone who will."
Okay. Go ahead.

Set limits
Think about how far you want to go at this time in your relationship. How do you feel about light kissing? Deep kissing ("French" or "wet" kissing)? Caressing with your clothes on? Touching your partner's genitals? Being touched on your genitals? Don't do anything you don't want to do. Make sure your partner knows how you feel and is willing to respect the limits you set.

Stay sober
Alcohol and drugs can make it harder to stick to your decision not to have sex. Try to stay out of situations that will test your limits, such as using alcohol and drugs when you are alone with your partner.

DISA Health Care is a sexual & reproductive health care clinic that you can call for confidential information about STIs/HIV, contraceptives, sexual health, termination of pregnancy and any other sexually related questions call (011) 787 1222. - Prof Elna McIntosh, Health24's sexologist


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