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How to Tell Your Partner What You’re Ready (or Not Ready) for Sexually

By , 17, Staff Writer Originally Published: March 28, 2008 Revised: October 24, 2013

When I was 14 and just out of eighth grade, I dated an older boy for a couple of weeks. He was 16 and entering his junior year, and I wanted him to like me.

One night while hanging out, we began kissing, and as we undressed, we started to have sex. This wasn’t what I wanted. I pushed him off of me, while crying and screaming for him to go home.

When I’m ready to engage in something more sexual than just kissing, I remind my partner that we need to use condoms.

I had told him earlier in the night that I was not prepared to go beyond kissing, but we got caught up in the moment. We hadn’t used a condom, either, which made me feel that much worse, because he had had many partners before me and I don’t know if he used protection with all of them. All that night, I felt ashamed and embarrassed about what had happened.

That night, I lost my virginity. I had always thought it would be a magical experience with someone I loved.

Now I make sure that my partner knows exactly what I am ready or not ready for. When I’m ready to engage in something more sexual than just kissing, I remind my partner that we need to use condoms. I also let my partner know that the relationship isn’t going to work out if he doesn’t respect me and my wishes to protect myself from STDs and pregnancy.

Setting Boundaries with Your Partner

Here’s what I’ve learned about letting your partner know what you are or aren’t ready for sexually:

  • Really be clear with yourself about what you’re ready for before engaging in any type of sexual play. If you don’t know how you feel about touching, oral sex, vaginal sex or anal sex, how are you going to let your partner know how you feel and what you’re willing or not willing to do?
  • Make sure your partner takes this situation as seriously as you do. Let him or her know that you deserve to be respected. If he or she doesn’t respect you or your wishes to go only so far, then it will be clear that you’ll have to end your relationship on the spot.
  • Don’t wait until the heat of the moment to explain what you’re ready for. If you do get caught up in the moment, you can always stop and talk about what you’re both expecting to happen, instead of doing something you’re not ready for.
  • Explain clearly what you are and are not ready for. So, if you want to have oral sex, but not vaginal sex or anal sex, make sure you say that.
  • Discuss which specific methods you will use to protect yourself and your partner from STDs or an unintended pregnancy, if you decide to engage in vaginal, oral or anal sex. This means discuss condoms, Sheer Glyde Dams, and the Pill or other birth control methods.

Communicating with your partner is extremely important. If you both know exactly what you are or are not comfortable with, then you can have fun with each other without any awkward or uncomfortable situations.

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