Get Real! Am I Ready for Sex, Or Is It Just My Hormones Talking?

Heather Corinna

The best any of us can do is be self-aware in terms of our feelings as well as our needs, limitations, life goals and relationships, and make our sexual choices based on those things as well as sound information.

Anonymous girl asks:

have just become a teen and sometimes I feel like having sex but I
don’t want to because I’m not ready. I just started my menstrual cycle.
I think it’s just my hormones but I am not sure. I also think it’s
wrong to do it unless you love someone a lot or your married. Most
people today in our modernized world don’t have the same philosophy. Am
I weird? I am really religious so if I do it, it’s gonna be on my
conscience. Also since protection is not always 100% I might get and
STD or pregnant. I need some advice. I don’t think I can handle a sex
life right now.

Heather replies:

You just answered your own question. You don’t need me at all! :)

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If you don’t think you can handle a sex life right now, and you
don’t feel like sex outside of a certain context — which you are not
currently in or don’t have the opportunity to be in — fits with what
you believe or is going to be right for you, those are both very sound
reasons to hold off. If you know you can’t deal with a potential risk
of pregnancy or STIs, and you’re right, while many methods of birth
control and safer sex are very effective, none of them are 100%, that’s
a smart reason to hold off or choose only the kinds of sex with risks
you can deal with and manage. Since it sounds like you’re pretty young,
it also can be really tough for younger teens to even access things
like reliable contraception and sexual healthcare, partnered sex may
not even be something you can legally give consent to yet, and younger
teens do often have larger challenges and risks with sex than those
even just a couple years older. You also express that partnered sex
would create a religious conflict for you. Even just one of those
reasons is enough to know sex with someone doesn’t sound like the right
thing for you right now, and they are all totally valid.

Not everyone shares the same values, ethics or ideals when it comes
to sex and love and relationships: we all differ very widely. There are
many people who feel the way you do, plenty of people who feel
differently, and there are people who have felt more than one way at
one time as they went through their lives growing and changing and
experiencing different things and different relationships. But those
differences are just fine. You’re not deciding what’s right for someone
else, after all, you’re deciding what you think, feel or know is best
for you. Even if you WERE really unusual and no one else on earth felt
the way you do (which is not the case at all), it still would be a
pretty good idea to stand with your own feelings.

These variances in everyone’s ideals and beliefs are also so vast
and diverse that we can’t really divide people into two simple camps,
and there’s really no need to since all we need to know in making our
own choices is what we strongly feel is best for us in the short and

The best any of us can do is to try and be very self-aware in terms
of our feelings as well as our needs, limitations, life goals and
relationships, at any given time and with some feeling of what also may
be true for us in the long-term and make our sexual choices based on
those things as well as sound information. You sound like you already
are very self-aware of these things and have a pretty good idea about
what’s best for you.

Too, I don’t hear you saying anything about who you might want to have sex with,
and that’s a part of partnered sex that usually tends to be of some
importance, if not great importance. If you are thinking about this
with a specific partner, that’s someone else where you both need to be
talking, expressing what seems best to you and sharing each of your
limits, wants and needs. That’s someone you need to look at the quality
of your relationship with, see how things are going between you in all
areas, how you two do with communication, with feeling safe around each
other, with other kinds of physical affection — like kissing or
snuggling — or some kinds of sex you feel out over time like manual
sex or petting, to weigh whether or not intercourse or other sex
together is a sound choice and in line with what you both want, need
and can handle.

There are lots of reasons we might want sex with someone else, and
they aren’t just hormonal (and for the record, adults have hormones
racing through our bodies, too: it’s not something exclusive to teens,
nor do hormones in anyone’s bodies render us powerless or unable to
make our own best choices) or physical, particularly when we’re talking
about sex with a partner. Those desires are actually largely social —
about bonding or community, about friendship, love, attraction, wanting
to share something with someone else, find a deeper intimacy with
another person and have sex be about both of you equally, not just the
desires of one or about getting the lead out. When we just feel that
physical urge for sex pretty singly — when we feel our sexual desires
rising up, but it’s not really about anyone in particular, not about
wanting to share something very intimate with someone else, and more
about wanting to just have a release, that’s the kind of motivation
where it’s often more sound to look to masturbation, to sex that is
100% for ourselves and about ourselves, with our own two hands, rather
than to sex with another person.

Even people who are married, even couples who very much love each
other and are attracted to each other will usually still masturbate,
because again, the urge to share something with someone else and the
urge to just satiate a physical need are not really the same thing,
even though sometimes, with a partner, those desires overlap just fine.
As well, often, any two people will not have the desire for sex at the
same time or on the same day, and that’s another sphere where
masturbation often fits the bill: otherwise, you have people having sex
with someone when they don’t really want to, which isn’t healthy for
anyone. Since you don’t mention a particular partner, and it seems like
you’re expressing that you feel sexual desire you want to fulfill, but
that sexual partnership isn’t something you’re ready for which fits
with your values right now, I’d say it sounds to me like the place
you’re at is more a place for masturbation than a place for partnered

One additional perk of masturbation is that it helps you to know
about your own body and your own sexual response long before you invite
someone else in to share it. That gives you things to communicate to
that partner when the time comes which will help sex be a more pleasant
and comfortable experience for both of you.

So, for now, why don’t you either look to masturbating or, if you
don’t feel right about that either for some reason, just give yourself
some more time to digest all of these feelings and to think through the
kinds of things you’ve clearly already been thinking about. I’m going
to leave you with a few links I think might help you have more
information to think all of this over with, but in the meantime, trust
your head and your heart: it sounds to me like they’re in alignment,
and that’s always the sign of a sound choice. Sex is pretty much always
going to be best when doing it is what really feels best, including in
your heart and your mind, and this kind of good stuff always keeps
because of that.


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