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He's ready, but I'm conflicted.

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15horses asks:

My boyfriend thinks I should try masturbating before we have sex. It just doesn't feel right to me. I want to be with him and just have him hold me. It's not about just having an orgasm. I don't know how to make him understand this?

Also, my boyfriend wants to have sex. My body feels like it is ready but my brain is saying I should wait. Is 16 too young? I'm afraid he doesn't really love me. I want him to be committed, how should I tell him this?

Heather Corinna replies:

Sounds to me like you have some internal conflict here...or not.

What I'm really hearing you say here is that you're just not really feeling it when it comes to sex yet. Not alone, not with your partner. I'm hearing you say that you're more interested in non-sexual physical affection right now -- like being held, like not getting to a point where orgasm is an issue -- rather than sex. That's not an issue about age: everyone has a different timetable when it comes to both sex and when (or if!) they are interested in having it with a partner. So, you're 16 now and feeling this way, but you may also have times or situations where you feel this way when you're 40 sometimes. And you say your body feels ready, but honestly, if masturbation holds zero interest, and things like orgasm feel totally unimportant, than I'd be inclined to disagree: sounds to me like your body and mind are in a similar space right now, with neither in a particularly sexual space.

Given how your boyfriend is talking, it also seems pretty clear that he doesn't know that and/or you aren't communicating that, and it's pretty important you do. If you've no interest or drive at all to masturbate, since the vast majority (over 90%, easy) of people DO masturbate, that says to me that sex just isn't that big an interest to you yet. Since you say that sexual satisfaction isn't a priority for you now, and also are expressing doubts about your partner's care and commitment, those are two very sound reasons to hold off on partnered sex.

How do you tell him all of this? While these conversations are rarely easy, they shouldn't be giant challenges either, especially with someone who does care for us. What I'd suggest is being as open and honest as you can. make clear that discussion about masturbation and sex is premature for you right now, because you don't feel that interested OR ready just yet. You can talk about what might get you to a point of readiness eventually. You can make clear that you'll keep him in the loop as to how you're feeling about this over time.

I'm tossing you links to a few articles which I'd suggest you read before having this conversation. They should help you get a better handle on what readiness for sex really looks like and give you some context to put your feelings in so that you can understand them better, and also communicate them to your boyfriend as best as you can.

written 13 Aug 2007 . updated 27 Dec 2012

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