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Talking With Your Partner About Sex

Talking with your partner about sex might feel awkward at first. But If you and your partner are thinking about having sex, it’s best to talk about it ahead of time.

A conversation about sex can include talking about:

  • whether you both feel ready to have sex
  • if you’re not ready to have sex, what (if any) type of sexual closeness feels right for you
  • if you decide to have sex, how you will protect yourselves from unplanned pregnancy and STDs
  • using condoms or other methods of birth control

Why Should We Talk About Sex?

Choosing to have sex — or any type of close sexual contact — is a big decision. It’s something both people should feel good about and agree to. Making decisions like this together is part of being in a healthy relationship.

When people talk about and agree to have any type of close sexual contact with each other, it’s called sexual consent. Sexual consent means asking each other — with honesty and respect — “Are you OK if we do this together?” And it means agreeing on what’s right for both people.

Both people should also be sure they’re ready for the responsibility that comes with the decision to have sex. This includes preventing unplanned pregnancy and protecting yourselves from STDs. It also includes preparing for new emotions that may happen with sexual closeness.

Talking about sex is a way to think these things through together. It’s best to be honest with each other about what you feel ready for, and what you don’t.

What if One of Us Is Not Ready for Sex?

If you or your partner is not ready for sex, it’s OK. You don’t have to. It’s best to set the boundaries and find the pace that feels right for you. Trust your gut.

And if you feel this way, you’re not alone. Many teens wait until they are older to have sex. Deciding not to have sex is called abstinence.

If your partner isn't ready for sex, don’t pressure them. No one should feel pressured or forced into sexual behavior they’re not ready for or don’t want. The decision to have sex is one that should feel right for both people.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date Reviewed: Jun 28, 2023

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