How To Know If You’re Ready To Have Sex With Someone For The First Time, According To Experts

When you start dating someone and there is strong chemistry, it's really easy to just hook up right away — and there is nothing wrong with that if you’re ready to have sex with someone new. While some people have rules about not having having sex on the first date, or until they're in a committed relationship (or even until they're married), the reality is that the "right" time for you to sleep with someone new is when you decide it's right for you. But there is a difference between knowing that it’s up to you and actually knowing that the time is right. Confusing? Yeah, and it can be even less straightforward, especially when hormones get involved.

What constitutes as "ready" can vary from person to person, so there are a few basic things you should consider before hopping into bed with that hottie. It's all about checking in with yourself to see how you are feeling about the person you’re considering having sex with — and how they make you feel. Self-reflection may not sound like the sexiest thing in the heat of the moment, but it's an essential part of owning your own sexuality, and by doing so it also frees you up to be in the moment when it really counts and just enjoy the experience. Sounds great, right? Here are the ways the experts say you'll know you're ready to have sex with someone new.

1You Really Want To

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There is so much external pressure around the right timing for having sex that no one could blame you for having waring voices in your head between what you “want” to do and all the things you’ve been told you “should” do. The only way to quiet those voices is to be real with yourself about your own desires. "You can't always listen to the fables and rules around you, as you are the one who will truly know when is the best time,“ says Dr. Nikki Goldstein, expert sexologist and author of Single But Dating: A Field Guide to Dating in the Digital Age. “You need to be in tune with that instinct and learn how to trust yourself.”

2You Have Realistic Expectations For The Relationship After

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A big part of being ready to have sex with a new partner is knowing what to expect after, and that it’s in line with your desires. “One of the biggest mistakes I see women making is having sex with someone new with the hopes that it will make him or her want to become more serious,” Vanessa Marin, a licensed sex psychotherapist, told Bustle. She added, “Doing the deed isn't automatically going to push your partner into starting a relationship, becoming monogamous, proposing to you, or falling in love with you.” Be honest with yourself about your motives for having sex and how you will feel if nothing more comes of the experience.

3You’ve Got Your Safety Game On Lock

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Here is the biggie. Even if you really want to have sex with someone and you’re totally comfortable with whatever the morning after holds, there is one thing that is absolutely essential before you proceed and that is that you’re taking safety precautions, because your physical health is just as important as your emotional health. Think it’s OK to wing it, just this once? Consider this: According to the CDC there are “20 million new [STI] infections in the United States each year.” So while it can be an awkward conversation in the heat of the moment, anyone who isn’t willing to discuss and practice sexual safety doesn’t deserve to have sex with you.

Ultimately, the way to know you’re ready to have sex with someone new is by trusting your intuition. “Don't let society, shame, or negative self-beliefs dictate when you should be having sex," says Goldstein. "Let your mind and your trusted gut instinct guide you.” Nailed it (pun intended).

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