I like her, she likes me; we're thinking about sex, but feel uneasy.

I’m a 14 year old boy. There is this girl that really likes me and I feel the same way about her. We want to have sex, but we’re both uneasy about it. What should we do?
Heather Corinna replies:

If you're uneasy about it, then I think it's pretty obvious that it's probably not the time to do it yet.

We can like someone a lot and be intimate in ways with them that don't require sex or any given type of sex, and which also don't put us at risk of things we're not prepared to be at risk for yet, or manage well to reduce those risks. Some people are ready for all of that at 14, but lots of people that age really aren't, especially since at 14, it can be pretty hard to get your own healthcare, your own supplies, your own transportation, or even a place where you really have enough privacy and time for sex that's emotionally and physically satisfying for both people. Managing reliable birth control and safer sex, including getting regularly tested for STIs, really communicating well about sex together, feeling okay about being so vulnerable in front of someone else, navigating the ways sex changes relationships, dealing with the social issues of being sexually active -- and the legal issues if y'all aren't even legal...all of this stuff is doable, but it does take an investment of time and energy, and not everyone is ready for all it entails, whether that's ready the first time, or ready the 301st time.

And when we're really not ready for the whole kit and kaboodle, it can turn what should be something really pleasant and wonderful into something pretty crappy.

So, for now, since you both do feel uneasy, why not take your time getting to that place? You can snuggle -- snuggling rocks, in my book, even once you ARE sexually active -- you can hold hands, you can make out, you can give each other massages, you can even sleep together (and I mean the sleeping-kind-of-sleep). Those are all kinds of physical intimacy which can and often do provide just as much closeness as genital sex does, and sometimes more. Doing things like that for a while with someone new also lets both of you get a better sense of if being physically intimate does feel right, lets you practice some skills you'll need if you do later have intercourse and/or other genital sex, and lets you move into things a lot more gradually.

If you're looking for ways to show one another that you care, you can write letters or songs or poems, create amazing pieces of art, talk for hours and hours, make creative handmade gifts, or heck, just remember to say "I REALLY like you" a lot.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the good stuff always keeps. If you're going to have sex with someone and have it be a positive, it'll be no less of one for waiting until both of you don't feel uneasy and feel 100% great about choosing to have sex. Chances are very good that if you wait until whenever that time is, it is much more likely to be positive for you both than it is to dive in, headfirst, when you're uncertain. Plus, it demonstrates a lot of care and respect for a person to make clear that you have no problem at all waiting until you both are absolutely sure you're ready. THAT is one heck of a way to show you like someone, and one no less powerful than having sex with them.

Here are a batch of articles which should help you and she out a lot in figuring out what you are and are not really ready for, and give you a realistic idea of what you are even trying to figure out you're ready for. When we don't really know for ourselves what something is or entails, it can be pretty hard to figure out if it's the right thing for us. I'd suggest you look these over for yourself, and also consider sharing them with this girl: if you're both even anything remotely close to ready for this, than talking about it this frankly together should not be a problem. (And if you can't even talk about it? Then it's pretty obvious you're NOT ready.)

So, have a look at them, and follow your head, but also follow your guts: when you feel really uneasy about something, that's a smart feeling to follow, and trust that that feeling is telling you the truth.

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