When do I know I’m ready for sex?

Having sex for the first time is different for everyone, there is no one set time when it’s best to do it. So where do you even start? How do you know when you’re ready for sex? The Mix has put up a few signposts to help you make the smart move in deciding when to have sex.

A young woman is looking into the distance. She is ready for sex. This is a wide-angle image.

Knowing when to have sex

Knowing when the time feels right is a personal decision, whether you’re in a relationship or up for something more casual.

So how can you be sure that you’re ready? Whether you’re a virgin, a die-hard romantic or a porn star, the most important thing is to be safe and feel happy with your situation. Admittedly there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sex and relationships, but there are ways that you can feel more confident about the choices you make.

You know what consent is all about

Sex is a choice. It is not a compulsory subject. Whoever you’re with, it means any kind of sexual activity has to be a joint agreement – something you both consent to rather than something you are doing just because you feel you should.

You understand risks of pregnancy & sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Crucially, you’ve taken steps to protect yourself before sex becomes a reality. Get to grips with the different contraceptive methods available that lower the chance of getting pregnant. Be aware that condoms are the only form of contraception that can both stop pregnancy and STIs, but even they are not 100% effective all of the time, so make sure you know how to use them properly.

You’re cool about carrying condoms

Whatever your outlook or experience of sex, even if you’re still a virgin, it’s always wise to be prepared. Nobody will assume you’re expecting sex. If anything, having a condom at the ready simply shows respect for yourself and whoever you might strike lucky with.

You can talk about sex openly

Not just with your mates, but the person you’re thinking of sleeping with. The closer you are to each other, the easier it is to talk openly. Don’t duck out of the conversation if sex is on the cards with someone new – if anything, it makes that chat more pressing. We’ve got an article on talking about sex with your partner which might help.

You can talk about feelings

Sex isn’t just a physical act. A level of emotional intimacy and trust is involved whether you’re in a long-term relationship or not. So be clear about your feelings and expectations, and negotiate boundaries. It won’t guarantee that the sex will be mind-blowing, but it will minimise the chances of feeling let down and used later on.

You’re happy to seek help and advice

There’s no need to pretend you know it all, and if you’re considering sex for the first time it’s only natural to have questions. If those questions can’t be addressed with your partner, put sex on hold and find out together. It’s better to wait until you’re ready, than to rush in and simply hope for the best.

Are you unsure if you’re ready for sex? Why not chat about it on our discussion boards? Head over to our sex & relationships hub to take a look at some of our other resources.

Next Steps

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 28-Dec-2021