Is It Time for Sex? Things to Think About

Your decision to enter into a sexual relationship with another person can be extremely exciting, difficult, scary, or intense. Like any big, important decision, it is one that requires that you gather and consider a good deal of information beforehand so that is an educated decision. There are many aspects of sexual intimacy to consider.

Personal, Psychological and Spiritual Principles to Ponder

From all directions, there are messages in our society about sexual activity. If you are thinking about entering into any kind of sexual relationship, it is wise to think over the following points (and the rest of the information on this sheet) and figure out what your own beliefs and conclusions are before making the choice.

  • Will my behavior harm me or the other person, physically or psychologically? Will I still like myself? What are all the possible outcomes and/or problems that could arise?
  • Will my behavior help me become a good future spouse or parent? Do I believe that premarital sex is okay? Is this behavior consistent with my personal principles?
  • What do my spiritual values say about this behavior?
    • Am I willing or able to follow the principles of my religion?
    • How will I feel if I don't?
  • Does my sexual expression enhance my self-esteem, self-respect, positive feelings about myself
    • Do I believe this will be enjoyable and gratifying to me?
    • If it isn't, will I continue or not?
  • How will having a sexual relationship with this person affect our relationship beyond sex?
  • What will I do if my partner and I get pregnant?
    • Can I handle having a child?
    • Marriage?
    • An abortion?
    • Putting the baby up for adoption?
  • What precautions will I take to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? What will I do if I or my partner gets a sexually transmitted disease?

What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are infections, some of which can be fatal, that get transmitted from one person to another during unprotected sexual contact. Sexual contact includes a wide variety of activities which are listed on the other side of this sheet. The various STDs include Chlamydia, Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV) which includes Genital Warts and Condylomas, Herpes, Hepatitis B, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which leads to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). There are other brochures in this office and at Health Services that can provide more information about these STDs.

How Can I Protect Myself?

Use latex condoms to prevent the exchanges of semen and vaginal secretions. Be sure you learn the proper way to use a condom before trying it. Used incorrectly, condoms are ineffective at preventing STDs and pregnancy.

Lubricants can prevent discomfort associated with dryness during intercourse, as well as the bruising that happens during anal sex. However, if you choose to use lubricants, always use water-based lubricants such as K-Y Jelly or spermicidal jellies. Oil-based lubricants like Vaseline or most hand or body lotions can weaken condoms and make them break. Lubricants that contain the spermicide nonoxynol-9 also provide extra protection against HIV.

Communicate openly and effectively with your partner before any sexual activity.

Don't mix alcohol or drug use to help you overcome uncomfortable feelings associated with sexual intimacy. You probably would benefit from re-examining your reasons for entering a sexual relationship a this time or with this particular person.

But... What Sexual Contact Is Safe... And What Isn't?


  • Dry kissing
  • Masturbation on skin with no open sores/cuts
  • Oral sex on a man wearing a condom
  • External watersports (urinating on skin without open sores)
  • Touching, Massaging
  • Sharing fantasies (the brain is the largest, most versatile sex organ)

Less Risky

  • Vaginal intercourse with a condom
  • Wet kissing


  • Oral sex on a man without a condom
  • Masturbation on open or broken skin
  • Oral sex on a woman
  • Anal intercourse with a condom
  • Engaging in sexual contact after alcohol or drug use
  • Oral sex with dental dam
  • Vaginal sex with female condom


  • Vaginal intercourse without a condom
  • Anal intercourse without a condom
  • Internal watersports (urinating into mouth, vagina or rectum)
  • Sharing a needle for intravenous drug use
  • Fisting (putting hand or fist into someone's rectum or vagina, easily tears skin, allowing germs to enter bloodstream)
  • Rimming (oral to anal contact)

What is Safer Sex?

"Playing it safe" doesn't have to mean eliminating sexual intimacy from your life. It means playing it smart, staying healthy, showing respect for yourself and your partner. Safer sex means talking openly with your partner in order to find out about your partner's health and sexual patterns and to communicate your own. It means discussing what will happen between the two of you and making choices to protect yourselves during sexual activity. It is WHAT you do, not WHO you are, that creates a risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

Got questions?

Contact your doctor, student health office, or local Planned Parenthood office.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2021, December 23). Is It Time for Sex? Things to Think About, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: March 21, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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