7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Have Sex
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Health and Wellness

7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Deciding To Have Sex

Safety first, kids.

7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Deciding To Have Sex

Whether it's your first time or not, you need to check in with yourself to make sure you are having the safest sex you possibly can, both mentally and physically. Often, we can go into sexual encounters without thinking about the potential consequences of throwing caution to the wind. Let's take these seven steps to make sure that our sex lives are awesome, healthy, and completely consensual!

1. When was my (or my partner's) last menstrual cycle?

This one is especially important for heterosexual couples out there. If you have irregular cycles or have not had a period in the last month, it may be time to take a pregnancy test or go on birth control to regulate your cycle to help it be more predictable, reducing your chances of an unwanted pregnancy. If you're not trying to get pregnant right now, you can also track your cycle through apps to see when you're most at risk of falling pregnant. Besides pregnancy, if either you or your partner are squeamish there's nothing quite like an unexpected visit from Aunt Flow to ruin the mood!

2. When was I last tested for STDs?

You need to know your status. Period. Full-stop. It's completely possible for you to have an STD without having symptoms. It's also important to keep in mind that even if you've never had penetrative sex before, you can still get STDs from other kinds of fluid exchange or in the case of herpes, skin-to-skin contact. Letting an STD go untreated can have long-term health consequences like infertility, pelvic sepsis, or even cancer depending upon the disease. Likewise, you need to know your partner's status. They could be an asymptomatic carrier as I mentioned before which puts you at risk of developing the same disease if they're not treated and you don't use proper protection.

SEE ALSO: 11 STD Precautions You Can Start Taking TODAY, For Safe Sex 100 Percent Of The Time

3. What form of birth control will I use?

There are many different forms of birth control available for people who aren't ready for parenthood. Besides condoms, there are several kinds of pills, a shot, a patch, a ring, implants, IUDs or even tubal ligation for people looking for a permanent solution. Men can also consider a vasectomy if they want a permanent form of birth control. In terms of non-hormonal birth control, there is a copper IUD, male condoms, female condoms, or natural family planning (i.e. tracking your menstrual cycle to see when you're the least fertile).

*Remember, condoms are the only form of protection that protects you from both STDs and pregnancy!

4. Am I able to give meaningful consent?

We can't consent to sex in a meaningful way when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if you can still physically say "yes" when propositioned, this does not equate to consent. People under the influence can make decisions they would never have made while sober, which can lead to a lot of regret and shame down the road. A drunken "yes" could be a sober "no" and anyone who would take advantage of that isn't worth it!

5. Am I mentally healthy enough to have sex?

This one often gets overlooked. Many of us don't think of possible repercussions of having sex when we aren't in the right headspace to do it. It's very similar to the question of sobriety – consent comes into question if we're depressed or anxious. Consent should always be enthusiastic! Get pumped for sex, and please don't have sex just because your partner wants to.

6. Do I feel pressured to have sex?

If you're not in the mood but your partner still wants to get busy, step back and evaluate the situation. If your partner is turning on the puppy dog eyes and that classic pout, don't allow them to pressure you or guilt you into having sex. Sex had for the sake of maintaining the status quo isn't cool, and can lead to resentment and even trauma down the road.

7. How will I handle an unwanted pregnancy?

No one wants to imagine themselves in this situation – it's nerve-wracking to even think about for many people. But having a plan in place will make things a lot less stressful, and it's important to make sure you and your partner are on the same page about the decision so there won't be unnecessary tension in the future.

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