Sexuality and Relationships FAQ

Sexuality & Relationships FAQ

FAQ.When do you know that you are ready for sex?

When deciding the right time to have sex, there are many factors to consider. If you have decided that it is the right time, have given some thought as to what you want out of the experience, and have considered how to protect yourself from infection and pregnancy (if needed), you may be ready for sex.

Some questions you may want to consider are: Is having sex with this person in keeping with my values? Is having sex with this person in keeping with what I personally need in order to feel comfortable? Do I trust this person? Am I attracted to this person? Am I prepared to have sex with this person? Am I in a condition to make this decision?

In addition, for many people it is important to have a caring and sensitive partner and to reach a point with a partner where you are in agreement as to why you are moving into a new level of intimacy. Ideally, non-reproductive sex strengthens pair-bonding, provides emotional security, bolsters self esteem, and reduces tension and anxiety. If you and your partner have different expectations of how sex may affect your relationship, there may be problems.

If a future sexual partner is not your friend, how can you trust them with your body, your feelings, your health and your life? How can you be trusted, as well?

FAQ.What is the best way to communicate to your partner your likes and dislikes regarding sex?

If you have not been communicating your needs to your partner, it may be a little awkward to begin but prove to be a very positive thing. You may want to start a discussion when you are not right in the middle of things. Let your partner know that you think s/he is great, you love being with him/her, and you would like to enrich your sex lives. Try not to focus on your partner’s past inadequacies; instead, focus on little steps that can bring the two of you closer together. Say something like, “Next time, could we…?” or “I like it when we…” You may find your partner is very willing to follow your suggestions.

FAQ.Why are there so many strong and yet conflicting attitudes regarding virginity? In some situations, there are strong forces that attempt to influence you to abstain from having sex. However, in other situations, there can be equally strong forces that are attempting to influence you into having sex before you are ready.

Our social attitude about virginity is just as confused as our attitude about sex. We prize it, but at the same time we feel that virgins are missing out on all of the fun, are facing a painful event, or are repressed.

In many cultures, it is desirable for a man to marry a virgin. However, there is often less pressure on men to be virgins when they marry.

FAQ.Why is intercourse painful at times? What are some ways to alleviate the pain?

For individuals who have not experienced intercourse before, a little education, lubrication, and some exercises can go a long way toward reducing the possibility of pain and making the first experience a positive one. These same suggestions can apply to individuals who have previously had sex but are still experiencing pain. In addition, if one had a past negative experience with sex, the problem may be a result of psychological factors rather than physical ones. In essence, fear of the pain may create pain.

See a health care provider for more information and to exclude other medical factors such as a low-grade yeast infection.

FAQ.My partner and I were both virgins when we had intercourse with each other for the first time. Since then, I still have not felt entirely comfortable and even attracted? Is there a chemical reaction that causes attraction and arousal between two people, or can these feelings be cultivated?

There are some chemicals involved, but we are generally not aware of them. If the first time you have sex results in a negative experience, it may be very hard to become enthusiastic about having sex again. In particular, when two people with little sexual experience attempt intercourse for the first time, it is possible that negative feelings such as embarrassment and fear may arise. So, it would not be strange if your feelings about your partner have changed. You, or at least your subconscious, may be unhappy about the event.

It is very important to communicate your thoughts and feelings with your partner. You and your partner might also want to consider the possibility of seeing a counselor.

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