Arriving at the decision of whether or not to have sex can be quite a journey. Irrespective of your destination – the final decision of being or not being sexually active – green flags can pave a path for you to walk that journey. “Green flags” bring to focus that you are willing, safe, and comfortable to go ahead with your decision of being sexually active. 

If you are uncertain and finding it difficult to tune into your gut feelings, lean on the following green flags checklist to understand if you’re ready to take the plunge:

Sex by New Africa |

1) You Want To Have Sex

It is okay to doubt what the experience will be like, especially if it’s your first time. However, spend some time with your thoughts. Do you WANT to have sex or is there pressure from peers or your partner? Only you get to decide when and how you are ready to become sexually active.

2) You Feel Safe And Comfortable 

Sex is an intimate act – it elicits many raw and primal emotions. You might want to feel relaxed and be vulnerable around your partner. These feelings are enhanced when you can trust your partner and be sure of them. If you feel safe and comfortable with your partner, it will be easier for you to show affection and have honest conversations. 

Sexual Activity by AimPix |

3) Your Boundaries Are Respected

Take some time to think about your sexual preferences and dislikes – what would your hard limits be? what would you be open to exploring? Even if it is your first sexual encounter, it is good to have some idea about what you would be comfortable with. To get some clarity, it might be a good idea to reflect on your interaction so far with your partner – have your boundaries been respected in the past? Is your consent honored? 

Remember, you can say no and change your mind whenever you want to – before or during the act.

4) You Are Aligned With Your Beliefs And Values

There is no right age or time to have sex. You should reflect on your value system – whether you believe you want to have premarital sex or not, or that you only want to have sex after a certain age, go ahead. A decision aligned with your beliefs and values might even increase the satisfaction and happiness you experience from your decision to engage or not engage in sex. 

Sexual Awareness by New Africa |

5) You Understand And Know Your Sexual Needs

As you explore intimacy and sex, it is normal for your needs and interests to change over time. Initially, it may help if you do some research or spend some time exploring your own body and pleasure. Being aware of your needs can help you be more confident and navigate boundaries.

6) You Feel Attracted To Your Partner

While knowledge, boundaries, and comfort are essential to ensure a safe experience, attraction brings pleasure and intimacy. This may not only be limited to physical looks. You could also be attracted to who your partner is, as a person.

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7) You Have Clarity About Your Feelings About Your Partner And Vice Versa

Do feel like you need to commit to a relationship before having sex? Is sex more about the physical act and not a commitment for you? When it comes to emotions, try to have some idea about not just your feelings, but also those of your partner’s. This fosters compatibility and ensures that neither of you has unrealistic expectations from the experience.

8) You And Your Partner Mutually Give And Take

Neither you nor your partner should have to put your needs on the backburner to satisfy the other person. Talk about what you are willing to offer and what you expect from them. If it’s all about them, address the problem and voice your thoughts.

Couples Discussing by Just Life |

9) You Can Have Open Conversations With Your Partner

Sex, especially the first time, might not always be like how it is shown in movies or pornography. You will learn more about your partner and their sexual preferences with time, if you can have open and honest conversations about likes, dislikes, needs, and interests with your partner/s. 

Beyond intimacy and pleasure, sex can also have certain consequences such as sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. If you choose to be sexually active, understand and practice safe sex. Look into various contraceptive measures (condoms, pills, diaphragm – a contraceptive device, IUDs). Talk to your partner about safe sex. It might even be good to have an emergency plan to deal with the consequences.

As you read through these points, multiple thoughts and emotions may have come up for you. Remember there is no rush. There is also no right or wrong. Take your time to reflect on your relationship, beliefs, values, needs, and boundaries. As you put on your thinking caps and go through the green flags checklist, the journey to your decision might become smoother!

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