My problem is about sex. Specifically, whether or not I should have it. You see, I have a boyfriend who I've been dating for two months now, and he's great. He's sweet, smart, funny, nerdy, attractive, and generally a great guy. Over time, our fooling around has gotten more and more intense, and we've gotten to the point where if we go any farther, well, there won't be any farther to go.
Now, I know he wants to. He's told me so. And on one hand I really want him to be the one I take that step with. (Did I mention I'm a virgin?) But on the other hand, I'm not sure if I should just go for it or if I should wait a little longer. He's been really patient with me, but he knows that I want to and keeps asking why I won't yet, and I can't ever seem to think of a better reason than "I'm just not sure" or "I just need a little more time." Before we met I had always told myself I wouldn't until I graduated (I'm a senior), but now I'm wondering if that's really the best choice. I'm really confused, Auntie. I want to do the HND, but I'm also not sure if I should yet. There's also a couple other things that he's asked for (like going down on him) that I'm not necessarily opposed to in theory, but I'm unsure about in practice, for basically the same reasons. How can I make up my mind?
And ooooh, you'd better hurry, Sparkler! After all, there's a deadline, here: if you don't make up your mind by next Tuesday at midnight, the window of HND opportunity will close forever, and that'll be it. And you'll turn into a pumpkin. A big, fat, virgin pumpkin who will never, ever have sex.
...Is a totally fabricated statement designed to illustrate that first and foremost, you can relax. Okay? Relax! There's no hurry, here. And being ambivalent, or needing more time, are totally okay when it comes to deciding when, why, and with whom you do sexy things. There's no such thing as "should" or "shouldn't"; there's just how you feel, and what you feel ready for, and these things don't have to happen on a schedule. So if you don't feel like you can handle sex, or sexual activity, then that's totally valid—and, "Sorry, I don't feel ready for this" is all you need to say.
However! What's not valid, or helpful, is muddying your decision-making process by getting all wrapped up in a totally arbitrary timeline for sexual readiness, which you came up with who-knows-when, based purely on a theoretical guess about how you might feel in the future. And in order to make up your mind, you need to first allow for the fact that time, knowledge, and hard-earned experience can and should cause your feelings about a decision—any decision, not just sex-related ones—to evolve.
So, the fact that you always told yourself you wouldn't have sex until after graduation? Not relevant to this discussion. Seriously, just forget about it. Throw it away! It's not useful! Especially when you've got gobs of newer, better, fully up-to-date information based on actual, lived experience to help you make your choices. And what you need to do now is grab a beverage, take a comfy seat, and answer the following questions with nothing to consider except your own, personal, present feelings about where you're at with the sex thing. Namely:
Do you feel ready? Are you emotionally mature enough to handle awkwardness, nakedness, and the distinct likelihood that you and your boyfriend will not be together forever? Can you handle the logistics of sex, from visiting the gynecologist to using contraceptives to being in close contact with another person's parts and juices? Do you and your guy have a good foundation of trust, honesty, and communication to work with as you figure out the HND together? And most importantly, do you, personally, want to have sex?
Generally speaking, if your answer to all these questions is "yes", then you're in good shape to make a mature, informed decision about getting busy in the bedroom. And remember, too, that you can change your mind at any time; if the path you pick doesn't feel good to you, then you're free to pick another one. But whatever your answers, thinking through these questions will get you right to the heart of what you want—and shut out the useless noise of preconceived biases, of "should" and "shouldn't," or of the idea that graduation represents some sort of magical benchmark of sexual maturity. (It doesn't.) And when you truly know your own mind, and when you let that be your guide, the choices you make—whatever they are—will be ones you can always feel good about.
Have you ever done a thing you always told yourself you wouldn't? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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