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If you’ve decided to have sex, there are things you can do to help make it a positive experience.

I think I’m ready to have sex. What do I do now?

If you’ve decided to have sex, there are a few things you should think through.

  • Get Consent. Sexual consent is when both people agree to sex without pressure or manipulation. It’s important to talk about what you want to do and what you don’t want to do and then respect each other’s boundaries.

  • Be Honest. Honesty is important in any relationship, but it’s especially important in a sexual relationship.

  • Get Tested for STDs. If you or your partner have had oral, vaginal, or anal sex in the past, getting tested can help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

  • Use protection. If you’re having vaginal sex, use birth control and condoms to protect against pregnancy and STDs. If you’re having anal or oral sex, condoms and dental dams help prevent STDs. Talk with your partner about how you can make sex safer.

  • Communicate. Talking about what you’re into and not into is really important. This means asking your partner if they want to do what you want to do, and telling your partner “yes” or “no” to what they say they want to do. Both of you can say “stop” or “no” in any situation.

  • Consider possible risks. Sex can come with some pretty big risks. Talk about how you would handle an unplanned pregnancy or an STD before you have sex .  

Talking to your partner about sex

Before you have sex, you and your partner have to know the other person truly wants to do it. This is called getting or giving consent. It can be as simple as asking “Do you want to ____?”  Or letting them know that you want to do some things but not others. Don’t assume things like body language and how they dress or act equals permission to have sex.

It’s important that you feel comfortable saying yes to sex. It’s also important that you can feel comfortable saying no. You have the right to say no to any kind of sexual activity, even if you’ve agreed to it before. You also have the right to stop having sex whenever you want.

It's not okay to pressure someone to do something sexual, or keep asking after they've said no. It's also not okay to have sex with someone who’s drunk or high.

Sex is way better when you can tell your partner what you need and what you're comfortable with. It's not always easy to talk about sex, but no one can read your thoughts. A good rule is: if you're not ready to talk openly with your partner about sex, you're not ready to have sex. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have a healthy relationship?

  • Can I talk with my partner about things that are bothering me?

  • Do I listen to my partner and share my own feelings about things respectfully? Do they do the same for me?

  • Am I comfortable saying "no" and "stop?” Will they listen?

  • Can I talk with my partner about using condoms/dental dams/birth control?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, your relationship might not be ready for sex.

Make sure you’re ready to protect yourself and your partner from pregnancy/STDs.

Vaginal, oral, and anal sex, as well as genital touching, can lead to STDs. Vaginal sex can also cause pregnancy. Using birth control protects you from pregnancy, and condoms help protect against STDs AND pregnancy. Dental dams can help protect you from STDs during oral sex on the vulva or anus.

Before deciding to have sex, ask yourself:

  • Do I know how to protect myself from STDs?

  • Do I have condoms — and do I know how to use them?

  • Do I know how to prevent pregnancy?

  • How would I deal with an STD or an unintended pregnancy?

  • Am I ready to go to the doctor for STD testing/birth control?

  • Have I talked about these things with my boyfriend/girlfriend?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, you might not be ready for sex yet. You can talk with a parent or an adult you trust or visit your local Planned Parenthood health center to get the information and support you need.

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