How to Wait to Have Sex

Waiting to have sex is not easy these days. Sexual images blast us on TV and in popular music, and not every partner you find may share your views. However, if you know your boundaries and reasons for abstinence then you can stand firm in your beliefs. What's more, studies have shown that waiting for sex leads to happier relationships.[1] No matter what your reasons for waiting, abstinence is simply about respecting your own boundaries.

Avoiding TemptationDownload Article

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    Think about why you want to wait. You need to take a little time to think about what you want in a relationship, and why you want to wait for sex. Are you planning on waiting until marriage? Do you want to take new relationships slowly, without the burden of sex? Most importantly, think about your personal reasons for wanting to wait. Knowing why you want to wait will make it easier to explain to your partner and stand firm with your beliefs. There are a lot of reasons to wait to have sex, including:
    • Religious beliefs.
    • Desire to find the right person.
    • Getting to know someone emotionally before sex.
    • Avoiding complications, like STDs or pregnancy.
    • Taking the relationship slowly.[2]
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    Determine your boundaries in advance. What sort of behavior do you classify as sex? Are you okay with kissing and touching? Are you waiting for all forms of sex, such as oral sex? You need to think about your lines now, not in the heat of the moment, so that it is easier to stand your ground when temptation comes.[3]
    • If you were to have a physical relationship, what kind of things would be okay with you? What would you find acceptable, and what would you rather avoid?[4]
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    Stay away from lurid media depictions of sex and fantasy. Hollywood and pop culture put a lot of emphasis on sex, and it would be almost impossible to escape it all. But that doesn't mean that you need to seek it out. If something makes your uncomfortable, feel free to leave. You'll never change how other people view sex, but you can respect your own boundaries and keep sex at the periphery[5]
    • Most of the depictions are fake, fictional accounts of sex. The promise of "life-changing sex" is not reality, and you should remember this if you feel pressured to become sexually active.[6]
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    Let your close friends know your decision to be abstinent. Even if your friends are sexually active, letting them know your decision and reasoning will help them help you. This may include asking them not to discuss sex as much, helping you out at parties or difficult situations, and being a support system if you have questions or feel temptation. Having a good group of friends around you makes every situation easier, and this is no exception.[7]
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    State your boundaries clearly and quickly in romantic situations. This doesn't have to be the first thing you say, and it doesn't need to be a big conversation. But letting someone know that you aren't interested in sex is the best way to get people to stop pressuring you. If someone is flirting a little too heavily or making suggestions you don't agree with, look them in the eyes and let them know that you're not interested in sex.
    • "I've really enjoyed talking to you, but I'd like to slow things down a bit and get to know you more."
    • "Thanks for the offer. I'll be going home alone tonight, though."
    • "I'm not interested in hooking up tonight, thank you."
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    Remain firm in your beliefs, even if it means leaving events or parties. Never let peer pressure, media influences, or guilt-tripping force you to compromise your convictions. If someone is not respecting your decision to wait for sex, it is time to leave and go somewhere more supportive. A simple and firm, "no thank you," or "it's just not for me" should be enough to get people off your back. If someone still pressures you, you should remove yourself from the situation.
    • Let your friends know your feelings so that they can support you in any intense situations.
    • You do not owe anyone an explanation for your decisions. Keep your explanations brief, firm, and to the point if you decide to give one.
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    Remember that abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. If you're at risk of breaking your own boundaries, and can't remember why you decided to wait, just remember the practice consequences of your decision. Abstinence is the only way to completely avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancies. No matter what other reasons you have for waiting, this tangible and immediate benefit of abstinence that can help you overcome temptation.

Practicing Abstinence With a PartnerDownload Article

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    Be upfront about your boundaries. Let your partner know exactly how you feel, and that you've decided not to have sex. Don't try and hide your decision or act ashamed -- you have the right to do as you want with your body. Getting this out in the open early allows your partner to talk about their own boundaries and desires, even if they conflict with yours. Choose a time to talk before sexual tension starts up so that the talk isn't clouded by lust or desire.[8]
    • If your partner is angry, upset, or tries to convince you to change your mind, they may not have your best interests at heart. You want to be with a partner who accepts you and your decisions.
    • "I've decided to wait until marriage for sex, and I wanted to find out together how we can make that work."
    • "I really enjoy spending time with you, and I've decided I want to wait on sex for a while as our relationship grows."
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    Focus on becoming better friends, and thus better partners. One of the biggest benefits of waiting is that you get to know each other without pressure to perform sexually. You must build your relationship on trust and communication, not physical lust, in order for it to succeed. So take the time to talk together daily. Find hobbies you both share and go do them, and take the time to eat dinner together whenever possible. This will help you get a better idea of your partner without being blinded by sex, ultimately helping you decide if sex is right with them in the future.
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    Find the physical connections that you feel comfortable with. Hand holding, kissing, romantic touching, and snuggling are all great ways to maintain a physical spark without sex. There are plenty of ways to enjoy each other's company that don't involve going all the way. Find things that feel good and enjoy them without feeling like you need to escalate things.[9]
    • Small things, like holding hands and hugging, are much more meaningful when taken slowly.[10]
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    Make sure you are both working together to wait. If your partner continually makes passes at you or questions your decision to wait, they may not be respecting your choices. You should never stay with someone who makes your feel sad, angry, or guilty for deciding to wait. This is often a passive-aggressive plays to get you to have sex. You and your partner need to work together to build your relationship without sex. If your partner isn't doing their share you should find someone who is willing to respect your desires.
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    Avoid tempting scenarios and situations. A date at your house, alone, watching a movie in bed is not going to make avoiding temptation any easier. Even if you've decided to wait, there will be sexual tension between you and your significant other, but you can minimize it:
    • Have dates in public.
    • Move to separate rooms or beds late in the night, and avoid sleepovers.
    • Find activities together instead of simply "hanging out." Keep your relationship active.
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    Know that waiting together will make you stronger. New research is finding out that relationships that wait to have sex are often much stronger, and lead to longer and happier couples. There is no magic number of days to wait. However, make sure that you like and love the person before sex to avoid confusing situations or realizations the morning after.[11] Some benefits of waiting include:
    • Time to know one another.
    • Great respect and emphasis on small acts (hand-holding, kissing, etc.)
    • Avoid confusing lust for love.

Deciding to Stop WaitingDownload Article

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    Know that there is no "right" time to become sexually active. Everyone has different reasons for beginning their sex lives, and there is no time that is "too late." You need to do what feels right to you and know that you aren't missing out because you've decided to practice abstinence.
    • The "three-date rule" about waiting in a relationship is an archaic, overly-simplistic rule. You should feel comfortable with your partner before having sex no matter how many dates it takes.[12]
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    Avoid making spur-of-the-moment decisions to stop waiting. If you're considering becoming sexually active you need to sit down and think about how your priorities or beliefs have shifted since deciding to wait. You do not want to regret your decision because you made it impulsively. However, if you've thought about having sex for a few weeks and have considered the potential repercussions already, it might be time to pursue a sexual relationship.
    • Talk to your partner about your changing viewpoints instead of making them guess. Your decision to become sexually active should be made together.
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    Find a partner that you know and trust. All relationships, sexual included, are based on trust and communication. Waiting to have sex is a great way to get to know someone without the pitfalls and awkwardness of a new sexual relationship. When you do decide to have sex, having a partner who you can trust to treat you well will make the moment much less stressful. Whether this is your first time or just a new stage in the relationship, your sex life will be much happier when built on trust.
    • The only key to trust is open communication. Not just about your sex life, but about your entire relationship.[13]
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    Work up to sex slowly. Take your time instead of rushing under the sheets. Know that, at any point during foreplay or intercourse, that you can stop and pull things back. Kiss, hold each other, and work up to sex instead of making it the end all be all of your relationship. This will help your approach sex comfortably. You can ease into it as you learn about yourself and your partner.
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    Ask yourself if you are ready before committing. Becoming sexually active is a big decision, and you should not make it lightly. Spend some time thinking about this alone, before the heat of the moment. Some good questions to ask yourself include:
    • How do you feel when you are with this person? Are they caring and kind?
    • Does this person respect you and your opinions?
    • Have you talked together about whether or not to have sex yet?
    • Do you have access to birth control methods?
    • Do you feel pressured to have sex just to please your partner, or do you really want to have sex.
Dr Rohit Bhaskar, Physio
Dr Rohit Bhaskar, Physio Hey, I am founder of Bhaskar Health and completed my Graduation in Physiotherapy from Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences. My clinical interests are in Chest Physiotherapy, stroke rehab, parkinson’s and head injury rehab.

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