Sex. It can make or break romantic relationships. Are your sexual appetites matched, do you like similar things sexually, can you meet each other’s sexual needs and wants? The list goes on and on. And the first question to start the ball rolling, in the world of modern hook-up and dating culture, is when is the right time to start having sex in a relationship or in a situationship? A situationship is a romantic or sexual relationship that isn’t quite official or potentially something that isn’t too serious.
A quick caveat here: lots of people are out there living their best lives casually dating or hooking up with people without any strings attached and don’t care about when ‘is the right time to have sex’. Spoiler alert – honestly there is no ‘right time’ to have sex. No two people or two situations/relationships are the same so how can there be one hard and fast rule (pun intended) about when is the right time to have sex?
You might remember the infamous ‘Three Date Rule’ created by ‘Sex and the City’ character Carrie Bradshaw. Her theory was that you should wait until the third date to have sex. The reason: you want to be sure you like the person and you don’t want to seem overeager, but you also don’t want to wait too long. All a bit too confusing for me and also very outdated.
If you’re messaging someone from a hook-up app and you’re both keen and consenting who says you can’t have sex in the first five minutes of the meeting. Or, if you like to take things slow and really want to get to know someone first before having sex, you can wait as long as you want until you feel comfortable and ready. When it comes to sex, you and your sexual partner/s make the rules!
What to do when having sex with someone new for the first time?
Ok, so you’ve met someone, and you like them. You feel the sexual tension build and you are both DTF, what now? Unfortunately, we are not in a movie and there are a few logistics involved when it comes to having sex. Things to think about:
- Location – you want to go somewhere that you both feel comfortable and a place that is conducive to having sex. If agoraphilia (a fetish for having sex in public places) is your thing get some inspiration here.
- Intoxication/drugs – if one of you is “substantially intoxicated by alcohol or any drug” under NSW law consent cannot be given. The Journal of Sex Research has found that one in six women and one in 10 men have experienced unwanted sex “because they were too drunk or high at the time”. So, if you or your sexual partner/s are drinking or taking drugs to excess take a pause and park having sex for a time when all parties can freely and enthusiastically give their informed consent.
- Protection – everyone has very different sexual histories. You might not know the person you’re having sex with very well or they might be your best friend. No matter how close you are to your sexual partner/s you won’t always know all the ins and outs of a person’s sexual history, or what contraception they may or may not be using. Condoms are the only form of contraception that protect us from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so before your next date or booty call grab a handful of condoms and some lube before you run out the door!
- Consent, consent, consent – we spoke about it before but consent is key! Make sure that your sexual partner/s are consenting and check in with them throughout. Consent is reversible and able to be retracted at any time, just because someone said yes to one thing doesn’t mean they are saying yes to something else. In NSW the new affirmative consent law means that a person must say or do something to communicate consent. Always make sure you are getting an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ from your partner/s. Consent can be sexy and communication is a must in any type of relationship. Ask your partner/s: “how does this feel”, “do you like this”, “what turns you on”, “do you want me to _______?”, “can I _______?”
Sexual debut: What if I'm having sex for the first time?
If you’ve never had sex before and you’ve decided to have sex for the first time, welcome to your sexual debut! Aside from the tips mentioned above, there are a few extra things you might want to be aware of. Having sex for the first time might be a bit awkward or feel uncomfortable – sex should never be painful though, if you are having problems see your GP.
If you are feeling nervous or awkward have a chat with someone you trust or your partner/s about how you’re feeling. As mentioned above consent should always be given freely and enthusiastically, you shouldn’t ever feel pressured into having sex with someone. The age of consent throughout Australia is either 16 or 17 years of age. If you are between these ages and are thinking of having sex for the first time, check out this resource for some useful info in accordance to your state’s laws.
Having sex can be fun, exciting, nerve wracking, awkward, funny, silly, messy, intense, romantic, casual, empowering, exhilarating. Having sex can be anything you and your sexual partner/s want. So, the answer to the age-old question, when is the right time to start having sex in a relationship or situationship is whenever you want!