Deciding if you're ready to have sex is a personal decision and everyone thinks different things about when its OK to have sex. This list, which comes from a guide made in Nova Scotia*, is a list of reasons why you shouldn't have sex. If your reason to have sex shows up on this list, choose to respect yourself and think about if sex is really what you want right now.
- Because you're lonely
- Because you're drunk
- Because you're high
- Because someone else wants you to
- Because you think you owe it to someone
- Because you think someone owes it to you
- Because you think everyone else is doing it
- Because you want to fit in or feel popular
- Because you want to prove you are grown up - to yourself, your friends or your parents
- Because you see people having sex in videos and movies and think you should too
- Because you think that having sex will make the other person love you
- Because you think having a baby will be fun and you'll have a baby to love you
- Because you want to prove that you're "straight"
- Because you're afraid to say no
- Because you think that having a baby will make your boyfriend of girlfriend stay with you
- Because someone gives you gifts or money
- Because someone makes a promise that they'll do something if you have sex with them
- Because you want to hurt someone else or pay them back
It is okay if you aren't ready to have sex. Your friends and/or partners should always respect your choice. If you know you don't want to have sex yet, check out the sections on Saying No and Ways to Say No for how you can stand your ground.
If you think you're ready to have sex, this list has some things that you should do or think about before having oral sex, sexual intercourse or anything else that could get you pregnant or give you an STI. It was written by Dr. Karen Rayne.
Since whether or not you are ready to have sex is a personal decision, you may not agree with everything on the list. That's ok, but a lot of it is still good advice if you're trying to answer this question for yourself. Here's her list:
- Have an orgasm - Before you start having sex, give yourself an orgasm. It's important to know what feels good for you so you can show the other person.
- Know the other person's sexual history - This means all forms of sex-not just vaginal sex.
- Know the other person's STI status as well as your own - The only way to know for sure is for both of you to get tested.
- Talk about exactly what STI protection and birth control you will be using - These two issues go hand in hand for heterosexual couples and STI protection plans need to be agreed for all other couples.
- If you are heterosexual, talk about what happens if the woman gets pregnant - Reality is always different than theory. It's good to talk about it beforehand.
- Have your best friend's blessing - It is often our best friends who can see our lovers or potential lovers as they really are. Listen to what they have to say and take it to heart. If it's not what you want to hear, give it a month. Then ask another friend and see what they have to say.
- Meet your partner's parents if possible - Knowing someone's family is an important part of knowing them.
- Ask yourself if you will be comfortable being naked in front of each other. Young people who are beginning their sexual life sometimes hide their sexuality in darkness. Having enough relationship trust to overcome this hurdle offers a chance to deepen your relationship before getting into deeper or more risky sexual activities.
- Have condoms handy - Make sure they fit and that they haven't expired. Condoms should be part of any respectful sexual relationship.
- Make sure your partner has done all of these things - Make sure you're both taking care of your own and the other person's emotional needs and physical health. Pay attention to both yourself and your partner.
* Text reproduced with written permission from the Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection, 2009.