Deciding to have sex is big deal, no matter how old you are. There are a lot of things to consider, such as your emotions and those of your partner, your religious and spiritual beliefs, the potential of getting pregnant and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs). Here are 20 questions to help you figure out whether you're ready to take your relationship to a sexual level.
11. What has your family taught you about sex?
a. They encourage me to ask questions about sex, practice safe sex and think about sex in a positive way.
b. They're not anti-sex, but they think I'm a kid and that kids aren't responsible enough to have sex. But they will answer my questions.
c. My parents and I have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy about sex.
d. I wonder how I was ever conceived: Sex is a totally taboo topic in my house.
12. What has your religious or spiritual community taught you about sex?
a. They think sex is a wonderful thing, and they want me to enjoy it while I'm young -- maybe a little too much.
b. They know almost everyone has sex at some point during their lives, but it isn't really a topic of discussion for church or synagogue. In other words, it's OK to do what you wish as long as you're safe and responsible about it.
c. They think you need to be in love and committed for the long term to have sex, otherwise you're in for a life of disappointment and heartbreak. Oh, and God won't like you too much either.
d. They say sex is only for married people: Anyone who has sex who isn't married is committing an act against God and will be punished.
13. How do most of your friends talk about sex?
a. They seem pretty honest about their hopes, fears and questions about it.
b. Some of them seem like know-it-alls, but they're not pushy. They just want me to be happy.
c. They think I'm kind of weird for not having done it but don't pressure me.
d. They can't believe I haven/’t done it and tease me constantly.
14. How willing to visit the doctor are you?
a. I want to visit the doctor if it will keep me and my partner healthy and happy.
b. Doctors make me nervous and I'm worried my parents will find out if I'm sexually active, but I'm willing to do it.
c. It sounds a little complicated, but I will do it if I get to have sex.
d. No way, Jose.
15. Who can you talk to about sex?
a. At least one of my parents and my doctor. And my friends, of course.
b. A brother, sister, counselor, mentor or older friend. Maybe someone at the local health clinic. Probably some friends my own age, too.
c. Probably just my boyfriend or girlfriend and maybe a friend or two.
d. Absolutely no one.
16. How do you tend to handle peer pressure?
a. I'm pretty confident about my opinions and decisions. I call my friends on their B.S., and we can usually laugh about it later.
b. I stick to my guns when people try to pressure me, but I usually don't speak up.
c. Sometimes I wonder if something's wrong with me when other people pressure me to make different decisions.
d. I feel like a bit of a doormat. I'm always doing what other people want, even if it's not what I want.
17. What do you want your first sexual experience to be like?
a. Totally memorable, one-of-a-kind, and with someone really special.
b. Fun, hot and not too awkward or painful.
c. I just don't want to make a fool of myself.
d. As soon as possible, anywhere, with anybody, PLEASE!
18. What would you do if you or your partner got pregnant or contracted an STD?
a. Figure out together what to do next.
b. Get sad and upset, then move on with my life.
c. Quite honestly, I'd probably freak out and not know what to do.
d. Run away screaming.
19. How will your relationship will change if you add sex to the equation?
a. There will probably be a lot of emotions, good and bad, and I look forward to going through it with my partner.
b. We'll both learn something about ourselves and each other.
c. My partner will like me better and spend more time with me.
d. I won't feel like such a loser for being a virgin.
20. How ready for sex do you feel?
a. I've felt ready for ages, I'm as prepared as I can be, and I/'m ready to learn what my partner likes.
b. I've got a lot of good information, and I'm super-anxious but totally into it.
c. I'm on the fence: I want to do it, but my family or religion is against it. Or, I'm not feeling confident enough about myself or the relationship to take things to the next level.
d. I feel light-years away from being ready.
Mostly A’s: You're probably ready to have sex. You're calm, comfortable and confident about yourself, good at communicating with your partner and can making smart choices about protection and contraception.
Mostly B’s: You're on your way to being ready but may want to work out a few things first. Do you have all the information you need about sex? Are you clear about what you want and what you believe about sex?
Mostly C’s: Sex isn’t out of the question, but you need to do some more thinking, learning and planning first.
Mostly D’s: You should probably wait to have sex at this point. This doesn't mean you won't ever be ready, but you need to know yourself and your partner better first and make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.