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Help me Dr. Hughes: Am I Ready for Sex?

by Maryann Pisano on October 4, 2015


The information presented in this website and the comments from Dr. Hughes are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or psychological disorder. The information presented is not a substitute for medical, psychological or psychiatric treatment. You are advised to seek professional medical and psychological help as necessary.


Hi Dr. Hughes!  I’m in my 20’s, and I’m still a virgin.  I’m in a relationship right now, but I don’t know if I should have sex with my boyfriend.  How do I know if I’m ready?  

Good question!  I applaud you for thinking about having sex prior to actually having sex.  This in and of itself means that you are starting the process in a thoughtful way.

In terms of actually having sex… your body is probably ready.  I’m telling you this because if you only listen to your body, it can be very easy to ignore your mind.  So let’s go through the thinking part of sex:

Your first thoughts should be to yourself.  How do you feel about having sex with this person, or with anyone for that matter?  What expectations do you have?  What fears do you have?  Are you attaching a lot of meaning to the physical act?  Be clear about what you are thinking, feeling, and expecting.  Be ready if your expectations are not met… or if they are met.

Your next thoughts should be about your partner.  What is he thinking, feeling and expecting?

Once you are clear on your thoughts and his thoughts, you can decide, knowingly to proceed or not to proceed.  That way whatever takes place or doesn’t take place will be intentional.  This will be a stronghold in your memory as you go forward.

If it wasn’t obvious by my response, a huge piece of pre-sex is having a conversation with your partner.  You have probably been told to have the conversation about birth control, STDs, etc.  That is all important, too; however, my response is addressing the other piece of the puzzle:  your motivations and readiness to do this as a couple.

Dr. Carsi Hughes received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northwestern University Medical School. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in adult psychopathology, clinical neuropsychology, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Academic appointments include Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology and Post Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Studies at Dominican University.

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