When Is It OK to Have Sex with a Man for the First Time?

Nick Slade
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Reader Question:

When is it OK to have sex with a man for the first time?

-Latoya Jones (Mississippi)

Expert’s Answer:

Hi, Latoya.

That’s a very important and very challenging question that all women have to deal with whenever they start dating a new guy. Of course, the answer depends to some extent on your age and maturity level, your experience and sexual history, and on the man you’re dating. But there are some guidelines that are good for every woman to keep in mind.

Do you love him?

Love is much more than that tingly sensation you get between your toes. Love takes time and involves the heart and mind much more than the body. Sex is simply a way to act out our love and fulfill our loving feelings. You need to ask yourself if this could be the man for you. Would you be proud and happy to bear his child? That is always a possibility when you have sex. Do you like him as a person and feel more than just a physical attachment? Consider how long you have been with him. The length of time between meeting a man and having sex with him is longer the younger you are. Sex does not really have a place in high school, as the consequences of love, even without sex, do not really fit into that youthful situation. Sex is always some kind of commitment and not just a good time.

Does he love you?

A woman is almost always ready for a mature relationship before a man is. Of course he is infatuated with your beauty and tenderness and is ready for the sex act, but that’s not enough. Does he take the time you need to feel respected and appreciated? That’s good. If you say no to sex, will he be angry or leave you? That’s not good. Is he all about the passion and the hot action, or is he happy to spend a day with you at the park or running errands when no private time is available? Are you OK with having sex with him if he never calls you again afterwards?

When sex happens too soon, you always run the risk of turning it into just a physical relationship that never develops beyond the bedroom and burns out quickly. Sex is not a prize he deserves for going out with you. It is the culmination of a bond you create together by becoming part of each other’s lives when you have all your clothes on.

I believe that if he’s not willing to wait or if he is pressuring you, it’s not OK to have sex with him. If you are in a stable, loving situation, you believe you can depend on him to keep loving you for the person you are, and you believe that he is a real man who will take responsibility for his actions, then you can consider having sex after several weeks of exclusive dating. But always use protection, because you are the one who will have to deal with any unwanted consequences.