Choose Your Method is a great tool to use with your partner. You can explore methods that will work best for you and your relationship. We have included some things to think about as you talk with your partner.
Understand Your Personal Values About Sex
Before you discuss your decisions with a partner, it’s important to check in with yourself about your own personal attitudes and feelings about sex. Consider asking yourself the following questions to better understand your values:
- What are my inner feelings about sexual relationships for me right now?
- What do I really feel ready for at my age? Am I doing what I’m doing because I truly want to? Does it feel right to me in my heart and mind?
- How will I feel if other people know I’m engaging in sex or sexual activity?
- Do I want to accept the risks of sexual intimacy?
- Do I have a strong understanding of “sex ed”?
- Do I know what I would do if someone did get pregnant or contract an STI? Where would I go? Who would I turn to?
Being honest with yourself about what’s right for you right now will make it easier to discuss options with your partner.
Find the Right Time
Have the conversation at a time when you are not in a romantic or sexual situation. It is difficult to talk about your decision and feelings in “the heat of the moment.” For example, having the conversation while you are taking a walk or having lunch together might be a good time. Having the conversation while you’re making out would not be a good time.
Give a Clear Message
Keep your message about your decision clear and to the point. For example, you might say, “I have decided not to have sex because I don’t feel ready, and I don’t want to risk getting an STI or getting pregnant.” Or you could say, “I want to have sex with you, but I won’t unless we use protection.”
If your partner resists or pressures you, it often works to repeat the message. For example, you might say,”I feel like you aren’t hearing me. I have decided not to have sex yet because I don’t feel ready and I don’t want to risk getting an STI or getting pregnant.” Being firm can be difficult because we often want to please the people we care about, but your partner should always respect your decision.
Act on Your Decision
Following through on your decision will be an ongoing process. When you are in a romantic relationship, your decisions about sex and protection will come up many times. If your decision has been to practice abstinence, then you will need to continue your commitment, regardless of your own sexual feelings and/or pressure from your partner. If you choose to use condoms or dental dams, for example, you will need to always have a supply on hand and use them every time you have sex.