Making Sexual Decisions


You are the only person who can decide if and when you are ready to be sexually active. This can be a very difficult decision to make.  There is no magical age when people are suddenly ready, and there may be a lot of outside pressures – from your partner, your friends, the media, etc. – that can make it tricky to figure out how YOU feel and what YOU want. 

Just remember that sex should be a pleasurable, comfortable, and guilt-free experience for both you and your partner.

Here are 10 questions that can help you decide if you are ready for sex:

  1. Are you feeling pressured to have sex by your partner, your friends, or television and movies?
  2. Will having sex fit with your religious or moral beliefs? In other words, will you feel guilty if you have sex?
  3. Do you want to have sex to get love, affection, or attention?
  4. Do you want to have sex to prove that you are sexually attractive?
  5. Are you afraid that your reputation will be hurt if you have sex?
  6. Do you think having sex will increase the commitment level of your relationship?
  7. Do your partner and you want the same things from sex?
  8. If you are in an opposite sex relationship, can you talk to your partner about birth control and share the responsibility of birth control (e.g. paying for it, using it properly, etc.)?  If the birth control fails, are you both ready to deal with an unintended pregnancy?
  9. Can you talk to your partner about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how you can protect yourselves?
  10. When you’re physically away from your partner, do you feel as ready to be sexually active as you do when you’re in the heat of the moment – e.g., making out with your partner?  When you’re sober, do you feel as ready to be sexually active as when you’re drunk or high?

If you answered YES to questions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and/or NO to questions 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, you may want to spend some more time thinking about whether you are really ready to become sexually active.

If you are not ready to have sex, that is okay!  You should never feel guilty about that decision.  Even if you’ve had sex before, you can always decide that now you’d like to wait. Even if you’ve told your partner that you’re ready to have sex, you can ALWAYS change your mind!  Respect yourself and your choices. The right person will respect these choices too.


You should never have to explain your reasons for saying “no”, but if your partner is pressuring you to have sex, here are some ideas for responses you can give:

“If you loved me, you’d have sex with me”
If you loved ME, you wouldn’t pressure me.

“Everybody’s doing it”
Great! Then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding someone to do it with!

“If you don’t, I’ll find someone who will”
Okay, go ahead. I don’t want to be with someone who only wants me for sex.

Sometimes it is helpful to talk to a trusted adult, such as your parents or guidance counselor, about the decision.  You are also always encouraged to call us at the Halifax Sexual Health Centre for support!