Here’s What To Do If You're Not Ready To Have Sex Yet, But Your Partner Wants To

by Christy Piña

Having sex with someone for the first time can be really exciting. Everything is brand new! Even if you've been sexually active in the past, a new partner can feel totally different, both emotionally and physically. They're a whole experience — one that you might be eager to explore, but not quite ready to yet. This is totally normal. Sex should happen when you're ready, but that can get tricky if your partner wants to have sex, but you're not ready yet. You may feel pressured to do it because you know your partner wants to, but the truth is, you should only have sex if you feel ready to, and if you genuinely want to.

"Not being ready to have sex in a new relationship can have many reasons and influences, and it's important to know them for yourself first before having a conversation with your partner," sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr tells Elite Daily. "Maybe it's early in the relationship and you don't know or trust your partner. Maybe you had trauma in the past, and it feels ultra-vulnerable and scary to open up to sex. Maybe you've experienced negative sexual experiences with others and are scared to repeat. Maybe you're anxious over not knowing what you're doing." Whatever your reason is for not feeling ready to have sex with your partner just yet — or if you don't know the reason, you just know how you feel — it's important to wait until you know for sure you want to do it.

It's totally understandable if you want to put off sex for some time in a relationship. There's no specific timeline you should follow when it comes to your sex life or your relationship, for that matter. "Sex is a vulnerable act through which you show a part of your erotic self," Fehr says. "It's an act of revealing oneself — and for many, it is important to share this with a partner they trust, who is available emotionally, whom they can ask for what they want, and who is aligned with their sexual values, as well as love." But even if those things aren't super important to you, it's still completely OK if you don't feel ready to have sex yet.

Your reason for wanting to wait a little more before having sex may even be subconsciously chemical. "With the release of oxytocin through touch and orgasm, sex introduces a level of chemical bonding that is very strong, especially for women," Fehr explains. "Not being ready for sex can be simply a conscious decision to postpone this kind of bonding until you know the person better." Once you've explored your reasons for not wanting to have sex yet, and you understand why, then you're ready to talk to your partner about it, she says.

Approach the topic with your partner early on. "Communicate your wants, needs, and desires," Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, tells Elite Daily. "Since your partner isn't going to get what they want at the moment, best to have the conversation outside of bed." While you may not be ready to have sex, however you define it, you may feel ready to do other sexual activities and explore each other's bodies, turn-ons and turn-offs, and what you both desire. So, "simply share what you do want to do and say or demonstrate other fun ways of giving and receiving pleasure," Levine says.

When you decide to talk to your partner, it's important to remember you have every right to feel how you feel in every aspect of your relationship, and nobody should make you feel ashamed of that. Trust that your partner won't judge you and will respect your wants. "Having a judgement-free exploration period to discover what sex means to each other and decide on what you're ready for and when reduces the risk of having silent disappointments and broken hopes that many couples often face when starting a sexual relationship without having taken time to learn about each other," Fehr explains.

Telling your partner how you feel about something as intimate as sex early on can help you build a solid foundation based on communication in the beginning stages of your relationship. "In fact, all of this sets you up for a healthier relationship down the line because you're walking into it consciously and intentionally" she says. "You're letting your partner know how you want to be treated and respected and also made happy."

Talk to bae in a way that you feel comfortable doing that still gets your thoughts and feelings across, sex and relationship therapist Dr. Donna Oriowo suggests. "A face-to-face conversation is always preferred, because it allows the person to see that you care about them, but you are not yet ready," Dr. Oriowo tells Elite Daily. "However, if you lose your words easily, I suggest writing it down and either sending it to them in a text or email or reading it to them over the phone or face-to-face." Give yourselves enough time to talk it over and process things fully. And ultimately, remember that you don't owe anyone sex. You should do it when you're ready to. If your partner doesn't want to accept that and pressures you, then thank u, next.