Trust Yourself: Feeling Ready for Intercourse

I'm 19 now, and am thinking about having sex. But I worry about it a lot; I don't think I'm ready, but in today’s society, most guys I know have already had sex. For me, this would be a first experience; I don't want to be bad at it. And when I finally do, I think that most guys would find it strange that I am a virgin. But personally, I'm knowledgeable about it, but there will always be the fear of not being accepted because I'm not as 'experienced' as most girls. Any advice would be great.
Stephanie replies:

I remember a few years back when a close friend and I decided that we were going to try bungee jumping. I was petrified the entire time that I was being strapped into the gear and in the end decided that I simply couldn’t do it. As I stepped down from the ledge with my friend my body was shaking and I felt as though I was ready to pass out.

If you’re asking yourself what that has to do with your question, I’ll tell you – it has to do with the fact that being ready for the decisions that we make at any time is extremely important. If I had been ready and relaxed, completely comfortable with the idea, then chances are I would have been fine and my body would have cooperated in allowing me to participate in the activity.

The same idea applies to choosing to become sexually active. If you and your partner are not really prepared, sure that you’re ready and willing to participate then sexual intercourse is simply not going to work. Not only can not being comfortable and ready mean that intercourse may be painful, you will both not likely enjoy the experience.

It’s important to note as well that readiness doesn’t happen for everyone at the same age, with the same person, or at the same point in any relationship. It’s quite normal to decide that a sexual relationship is right at a particular time with one partner and not feel the same way after the same amount of time with a different partner (or to never feel ready to be in a sexual relationship with the other partner at all). Just the same, readiness doesn’t happen at a certain age just because we feel like we’re the only person that hasn’t had sex by that age. I can also promise you that you’re certainly not the only person not having sex – and you’re also not the only person feeling like this.

Part of the problem that we often notice is that when people talk about sex, it tends to be blown out of proportion to make it something that it isn’t – and therefore people walk into sexual relationships with this wrong idea of what to expect and are thus disappointed. The same thing happens when talking about who’s had sex and how many times. When in a big group of friends, school hallways, parties, etc. the need to fit in is something that occurs naturally.

On our message boards there’s often a question around about telling a current partner that you haven’t had sex when they thought that you have. So no, not everyone has had or is having sex. Know too that it’s natural for some people to be ready earlier in life than others – and that’s fine. Someone may be ready at thirteen, someone else may be ready at eighteen, and others may not find that they’re ready until quite a while later than that. There’s nothing wrong with having sex at a younger age if you’re ready any more that it is not having sex until you’re older if that’s when you’re ready.

You’ll also find that when you do feel ready emotionally, mentally, and physically to be in a sexual relationship and you have a partner that feels the same and respects you, you won’t have to worry about them not accepting you. That’s why the mutual respect is so important – it involves both of you understanding that it's good to take things slow and at a pace where you’re both comfortable and that one partner won’t be judging the other. Additionally, it means that as a part of respecting you your partner will also be choosing to respect the decisions that you’ve made in the past about sex and any that you’ll make in the future regarding boundaries and what you both like and choose to participate in. Mutual respect means that you'll do the same for your partner too.

You know better than anyone what you're ready for right now, so the best thing to do is trust your feelings.

I've added some links from the site that I think will help you in the future.

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