The decisions you make about your body are entirely yours. Sex included. Often after going out with a new special someone, we chat with our friends, coworkers or family about the experience. Then what happens? Opinions. Lots of them. These people who are close to us impart their ideas about the date (or series of dates), "He took you where?" or "She said what?" and then we download a new perspective entirely. See how easy it is for our inner circle to influence our decisions...
Let's make this decision YOURS.
Sex brings up a lot for people whether it be intense emotions, past experiences, ideas about commitment, concerns about STIs/unplanned pregnancy, body image, cultural understandings and religious beliefs, etc. If you consult every person from your inner circle, they may each give you different answers based on their own beliefs.. making it more complicated than calculated. What matters most is what you believe and whether you feel prepared to engage sexually with this other person.
The right time to have sex for one person is unlikely to be the same for another, so there's no quantitative one-size-fits-all answer. However, here are a few of my favorite questions to consider when making your decision:
Can you talk about being intimate while you're not in the heat of the moment?
Discussing what you desire in an intimate relationship with your date, while you are fully clothed and sipping coffee, can be just as sexy as that steamy kiss you shared last Friday night. Think of this as foreplay for your brain. It also helps clear up any expectations you each may have.
If you were sexually intimate right now, what do you imagine that would be like for you?
Sometimes new (sexual) experiences are exciting and other times they feel scary. If you notice that you feel uneasy about having sex right now, I'd encourage you to embrace that and not make any decision that doesn't feel right to YOU. Identifying the source of the discomfort can be helpful to determine: What might help you feel more comfortable? Many people feel anxious about having sex because they worry about unplanned pregnancy or contracting an STI. One strategy to yield the nerves would be to talk with your partner about your beliefs about contraception and plans for safer sex. Pro tip: Make your next date a trip to the local clinic to get tested together for STIs.
What are 5 things you like about this person that are not visible to the naked eye?
This one may sound silly, yet it is important to like our partners if we are taking stock in exploring their bodies sexually. Now, maybe you don't feel that being "in love" is a prerequisite for sex, totally fair. However, if you are going to be trusting your body with someone (and during sex, trust is involved), finding 5 things you can appreciate about him or her should be easy to do. Think about it this way: if you knew your date didn't like you as a person, would you still want to be with them sexually?
What are the tradeoffs of waiting to be sexual?
If sex were a car and desire were gasoline, then distance is desire's gasoline. That first moment when you greet your date after nearly a week and you've been thinking about one another frequently, KABOOM! Those few days apart (that distance) is what makes your first interaction feel so powerful and exciting.
So maybe you both have been kissing a lot and that feels good right now and you are considering taking things to the next level sexually, awesome. Here's a question: if you waited a little while longer (maybe a day or a few more weeks), what would you gain instead? Often when I ask this question, people seem confused but their answers usually reside with closeness, greater confidence, a deepened sense of trust, more developed commitment, increased awareness & Desire, Desire, Desire. Taking the time to really understand the person you swiped right will likely enhance your sexual experience in the long run, keeping the anticipation flowing until you are both ready to embark on this sexual expedition.