DEAR KELLY: My boyfriend wants to "go further," if you know what I'm talking about. We are both in high school and have been going out for five months. He said he would wait, but I know he's getting tired of waiting.
I'm scared because I think I'm ready, but what if I'm not and this ends up ruining our relationship? Or what if I do it and then we break up and regret doing it?
I'm confused and not sure what to do.
I honestly think I love him because it's been the best five months of my life. I have never felt like I do about anyone else, and he feels the same.
I know it's a big deal and I've thought a lot about it. I don't want to lose him and even though he says he will wait, I don't know for how long. He's already done it before, so it doesn't have the same meaning to him that it does to me.
Any advice? Have you heard this like 1,000 times before, and what do most girls do in this situation?
Scared But Kinda Sure
DEAR SCARED: Any time we are "kinda" sure, it means we aren't really sure. If you were so sure of your decision, I doubt you would be writing for advice. It takes courage to be able to say, "I'm not sure and I don't want to do something I will regret."
You are absolutely correct on one thing: This is a big deal. And even though he has done it before, it should still be a big deal to him because it's a big deal to you. There are a lot of factors that should go into the decision to have sex, and it seems like you are doing a good job considering some of them.
But there are other factors besides "we've been together for five happy months and I think I love him." Have you considered things like birth control, protection from sexually transmitted diseases, and the emotional change this will have on your relationship?
Consider this: Once you have sex, it is hard to slow things down again, and the idea of going back to just hand-holding and kissing is impossible. Relationships are complicated and adding sex can only complicate it more if you are not ready.
One factor that should not have any weight is being scared you will lose him if you ask him to continue to wait. If he cares about you as deeply as he says he does, then he will wait as long as it takes without putting any pressure or guilt on you for not being ready. The decision to have sex or not to have sex should be entirely yours, and it should not be based on you trying to meet someone else's needs.
The most important question you should ask yourself is, "Am I doing this because I want to?"
Sit your boyfriend down and tell him you are confused, which means you are not ready. Let him know that you think this is what real loves feels like because you have never felt his way about someone before. But tell him there are more factors that go into having sex for the first time than just thinking you love someone.
Be honest about what feels comfortable right now and ask him to not pressure you into doing anything you aren't 100 percent sure you are ready to do. If he seems upset or angry, see this as a red flag and be cautious that he doesn't try to make you feel bad for setting the boundaries. If he loves and respects you, he will honor your feelings.
It doesn't matter what the other 1,000 girls before you have done. What matters is what choices you make for yourself. Value yourself, your body, your future, your relationship and your core beliefs enough to wait until you are 100 percent certain you are ready to have sex. There should be no "kinda sure."
Take as long as you want. Be patient. Don't feel rushed to make such a big decision. There is no time frame on the right time to have sex. The right time, and the only time, is when you are emotionally prepared, prepared to take the right steps to protect yourself from being pregnant or contracting a disease and you are with someone who loves and respects you enough to let the decision be entirely yours.