My last blog’s topic was about the varied reason’s people have sex, which led a reader to ask me, “When is the right time to start a sexual relationship?”
This is a difficult question to answer because there isn’t a set recipe of “right or wrong” timing. This decision depends entirely on each individual’s own values, interests, attractions, etc. It is actually easier to tell you when starting a sexual relationship is likely to lead you to difficult consequences, rather than when it is okay to go forward.
It is unwise to start a sexual relationship when:
- It goes against your spiritual or moral convictions.
- You are too young (or too vulnerable) to handle the potential consequences.
- He or she is married or otherwise involved—or you are.
- You haven’t spent enough time together to know whether there is any attraction beyond the physical.
- When substances are influencing your decision.
- You don’t know what having sex means…does it mean you are exclusive and monogamous, having an affair, having a one-night stand? It is important to know so that you can determine whether that is all right with you.
- You aren’t really interested in the other person, but giving in is easier than turning him or her down or loneliness is influencing your decision or you are saying yes in order to keep the other person in your life.
- You don’t have protection from pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
- You would be embarrassed to tell your best friend.
- You will feel bad about it in the morning and have less self-respect than you would if you didn’t have a sexual relationship with him.
Know that every decision has a potential set of consequences and you need to be sure that you can accept and take responsibility for the consequences—physical and emotional—that may come about. Ask yourself the “what if” questions—what if you have sex and then you don’t hear from him again? What if you were to get pregnant? What if you then found out he was dating other people? Ask yourself how you would feel under these circumstances and then see if you know yourself and him enough to begin a sexual relationship.
I know I am making all this sound very logical and sexual involvement with someone seldom has much logic to it. So ultimately, the best way to know is to trust your gut instincts and do what feels right and what you know you will be able to love yourself for the next day.
For some people it may work to be sexually involved right away (however, seldom is that a wise decision.) For others it is the right time after spending a month or two dating. For others it isn’t right until there is an exclusivity agreement. For others it isn’t right until they are married. The ultimate question is, when is it right for you?
I encourage you to ask yourself, before the pressure of the moment arrises, “What do you need to know, or feel, before it is right for you to begin a sexual relationship?”
Let your body cast a vote, then use your head along with your heart to make decisions that are in alignment with your goals and values.