Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Rush to Have Sex Right Away
Growing up, boys and girls typically receive very different messages about sex.
Whether from school sex ed programs, friends, parents, religious institutions or the culture at large, what kids and teens learn about intercourse can influence the way they see it in a big way.
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Being such an immensely intense, intimate and personal thing, no one should feel obliged to experience sex before they’re ready to. However, that point doesn’t exactly line up with the pressure many boys feel in their teenage years to lose their virginity sooner rather than later.
Boys who haven’t had sex by a certain age are often made fun of, excluded or painted as not manly enough — lacking some crucial part that their more sexually active peers possess — even though there’s no correlation between sexual experience and someone’s value as a person whatsoever. Having more sex, or sex at a younger age, is no guarantee that you’ll even be a better lover.
So why do so many people rush into sexual experiences? What might the value be to waiting? Let’s hear what the experts have to say.
Why People Rush Into Having Sex in a Relationship
Your buddies on the team keep calling you a virgin. Your highschool sweetheart says they’re tired of waiting. You know your older brother had sex by your age, leaving you to feel inadequate by comparison.
We might associate a desire to have sex with a sense of inner arousal or wanting to experience the pleasurable sensations associated with it, but as the above examples show, people have sex for all kinds of reasons. Things like status, self-esteem, connection, and control can make up the motivations around any given instance of intercourse.
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With the presence of other factors in people’s decisions whether to have sex that are often unrelated to their own desire or readiness for the deed, it’s common for people to have sex for unsound or ultimately harmful reasons.
One thing in particular that drives people who don’t feel ready for sex to push through their own discomfort is the fear that it’s now or never.
“People may rush to have sex for the first time (ever or with a partner) because they believe time is somehow limited or running out,” says Kayla Lords, a sexpert for JackandJillAdult.com. “In budding relationships, some people think their partner will lose interest — that sex is how you keep their attention.”
Of course, the perceived importance of seizing the moment is often exacerbated by things like peer pressure or social pressure to lose your virginity.
“For people who have never engaged in sex before, they may feel external pressure,” adds Lords says. “That they’re somehow behind their peers, as if having sex is a race they need to win.”
For SKYN Condoms’ sex and intimacy expert Gigi Engle, these misunderstandings come down to a paucity of good sex education.
People often hold mistaken beliefs, like sex being a necessity in a romantic relationship or that you’re not a real man until you’ve had sex, in part because of warped and regressive cultural messages that receive little to no corrective from any alternative viewpoints.
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“Sex is still widely considered taboo, and we have very little proper sex education,” notes Engle. “We don’t develop the emotional intelligence to know when our brains have caught up to our bodies in order to know when we’re ready for the physical aspects of sex. In today’s hookup culture, sex is kind of ‘expected’ and so we often have it so we’ll look aloof, cool or not emotionally attached in any way.”
Why Waiting to Have Sex Can Be the Right Move
There’s no rulebook on how long you should wait to have sex. In fact, the traditional idea that you should wait until after you’re married is now seen as hopelessly outdated by many. But the idea that’s replaced it in many people’s minds — that trying to have sex as soon as possible is a good idea — might be just as misguided.
“While two (or more!) consenting adults can have sex whenever they want in a relationship, waiting isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” says Lords. “For some people, trust is an important factor in getting naked and baring their sexual soul (in a manner of speaking).”
For Engle, if you’re ready and excited for sex, there’s not necessarily any reason that you should wait.
“If you want to have sex right away, go for it,” she says. “It’s your life and as long as both you and your partner are super down for it, it’s not bad to have sex right away.”
When it comes to waiting, however, she adds that it’s about “checking in with yourself and thinking about what you want your experience to be, and sticking to your boundaries should someone want to do something you’re not yet comfortable with.”
Keeping that in mind, here are three valid reasons to consider delaying sex until you’re sure you’re ready:
A Slow Buildup Can Be Incredibly Sexy
It might sound counterintuitive, but waiting to have sex can be sexier than actually having sex. Why? Well, sex is about release — the more buildup there is to release, the hotter it can be. Conversely, pushing to have sex as soon as possible with each new person you’re courting can rob your first-time hookups of any intensity.
“Men don’t have to conform to social pressure (or pressure from a partner) to have sex,” says Jor-El Caraballo, a relationship therapist and co-creator of Viva Wellness. “Ultimately, that leads to some pretty unfulfilling sexual experiences. Moving with a concrete intention and goal can help men have better interactions with partners and hot sexual lives.”
It’s a similar principle to that of the ‘edging’ sexual technique — slowly moving towards a climax will produce a more powerful orgasm than rushing right to it.
Similarly, proceeding with flirtations, sexts, kissing, makeouts and foreplay rather than going right to penetrative sex or oral can make finally getting there that much more exciting.
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Knowing Them Better to Please Them Better
Aside from the notion of a slow burning passion helping to produce more electric sex, waiting rather than rushing into sex can also make for better sex in a very concrete way. Essentially, you’re unlikely to have good sex with someone whose tastes you don’t know yet.
According to Engle, waiting “can give you a chance to get to know someone on a more intimate and emotional level before you get physical,” which she notes can be a sound sexual strategy.
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As well, sleeping with someone you know and trust can mean you’re not as worried about impressing them, and are more confident and able to enjoy yourself in the moment.
“When you know a partner a little better, it’s easier to laugh off the weird things bodies do, relax into the moment and feel a sexual connection (if connections with a sexual partner is important to you) because you know each other,” says Lords. “Partners who wait may feel less anxious that they’ll do the wrong thing, say something that turns their partner off or ‘lose’ their partner because they’re ‘bad’ at sex (which is subjective, and if you want to be good at sex, communication is just as important as technique).”
Waiting alone may not improve your sexual chemistry with someone, but getting to know them better, and getting to know what they like and don’t like in bed, can make a massive difference when it comes to how good your sex is when you finally have it.
More Communication, Fewer Broken Boundaries
Finally, and perhaps the most important note, waiting until you both know each other better can lessen the likelihood that one of you will violate the other’s boundaries unknowingly.
Sexual consent is something that many people struggle to talk about, and that means two people who aren’t yet especially comfortable with each other could easily both fail to address a potential violation — one person not knowing how to ask for permission, and the other person not knowing how to say no.
That’s not to say that boundary violations never occur between people who know each other well or are quite sexually comfortable, but it’s far too easy to misinterpret someone’s actions or responses when you’re still essentially strangers. For many people, it might feel less important to check in on someone’s comfort levels if they’ve only just met.
“You should not proceed unless you have been given an explicit ‘yes,’ and the person is enthusiastic about the sex,” says Engle. “If they seem passive or disinterested, stop immediately and communicate.”
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This can be especially important if your partner is female since women are often socialized to put other people’s desires above their own, and not to loudly push back against a man’s actions in fear of violent male reprisals.
“With female partners especially, we can genuinely put our lives at risk by saying no to men,” she adds. “This can make us wary of confrontation, even when we don’t want something to happen.”
Getting to know someone before sleeping with them might save you from an underwhelming (and potentially disastrous) hookup. Until both you and your partner are genuinely ready, it’s absolutely fine to take your time.
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