Even though the media loves to sell us sexed up anything and everything, actually talking about the birds and the bees is still pretty taboo. Even though our culture has been shifting away from that, thanks in part to the younger generation, we still have a long way to go in the realm of sex ed. Plus, since sex means something different for everyone, it makes sense that each person’s experience with it will be unique as well.
Although there is no universal “right” time to have sex for the first time, most of us knew when we were ready to do it. You have every right to enjoy yourself with some steamy love-making, but you also have the right to do so under your own terms. Making sure you’re safe, and know what to expect from the relationship and the experience, can save you a lot of anxiety. If you’re ready to have sex, asking yourself these questions could help you be confident and comfortable with your decision.
1Do I trust this person?
Although you don’t need to have an emotional connection with the person, trust is still important. Not only will it make the experience that much better, but it will make it that much more important as well.
2Am I doing this for me?
3Do I have protection?
“It’s just a little piece of plastic; they can’t be that different, right? Wrong! There are actually tons of different condoms that perform very differently from each other. The trick to improving your condom experience is to experiment with lots of different models. There’s a really cool company called Lucky Bloke that is solely dedicated to helping men find the right condom for them. If you want to surprise your guy with some new options, you can also check out their condom sampler packs.”
In a political climate where women’s bodies and bodily autonomy are constantly being threatened, the least you can do when you have sex is make sure you do it safely. So whether you’re using dental dams or condoms, bring your own and don’t let your partner tell you that “it ruins the mood” or “doesn’t feel as good.” Even if you’re on birth control, you can still use protection. Better safe than sorry.
4Has this person been tested?
Local clinics, Planned Parenthood, some urgent cares, gynos, and university health centers offer STD testing. Very often, the anticipation of getting tested is worse than actually getting tested. Asking your partner if they’re clean may feel uncomfortable, but it is much less awkward than finding out after the fact. Having the awkward conversation up front also means it can only get easier the rest of the night.
5Have we both been clear about what we want out of this relationship?
Beyond that, you want to be on the same page as them before you make such a big decision. After all, even if sex doesn’t feel monumental, it will likely be something you remember. You may as well make sure it’s the best case scenario, right?
6Will I regret this?
Regret can be a useless emotion — if you learn something from an experience, you shouldn’t regret it. Maybe choose to work the experience out in a different way next time, yes. But regret? No. You’re so much better off without it.
7Am I REALLY ready?
There’s no shame in waiting for the right time and there’s no shame if it is the right time. Either way, go get ’em tiger!