How to Tell Your Partner That You’re Not Ready for Sex

Couple in bed.
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When it comes to having sex with your partner, it’s important to remember that this decision is up to you and you alone. And no matter how long you’ve been with your partner or how well you really know this person, sex may still be something in which you’re not yet ready to engage. With this in mind, having to tell your partner that you’re not ready to have sex can seem like a daunting and difficult task, especially if this person has indicated that he or she'd like to take this next step with you.

Fortunately, you can have the sex talk with your partner so that you’re both in accord about your sexual comfort level, needs and desires.

Recognize that you don’t have to have sex. When you’re preparing to tell your partner that you’re not ready to have sex, it’s highly important to understand that you’re under no obligation to have sex in the first place. To that end, whatever your reasoning may be as to why you don’t want to have to sex, it’s completely valid and should be respected by your partner. For example, perhaps you want to build a stronger and deeper emotional connection before having a physical one, you want to know your partner better, you haven’t had sex before, you’re waiting until marriage, you’re afraid of the risks or sex simply doesn’t appeal to you at this point. Whatever the case may be, once you’re more open and honest with yourself about why sex isn’t an option, your upcoming conversation with your partner will be far less difficult.

Tell your partner how you feel. Once you’ve done some self-reflection, the next step is to have the talk with your partner. And rather than telling him or her over text, on the phone or even in the heat of a make out session when emotions are running high, you should pick a separate time to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation about what you’re comfortable with sexually.

To that end, openly communicating with your partner about your true feelings on this kind of serious matter is actually an important part of building a strong, meaningful and long-lasting connection with someone. And if you feel as though you’re just unable to be this honest, forthright and vulnerable around your partner regarding your sexual preferences, this is a sign in and of itself that you’re not yet ready to have sex with this person.

Gauge his or her reaction. Once you tell your partner that you’re not ready to have sex, it’s important to pay close attention to your partner’s response. For instance, if he or she’s annoyed, frustrated or in disbelief by your news, this is a clear indicator that you should find someone new. In fact, this kind of immature reaction lets you know right away that having sex is more important to this person than having you in his or her life. In a word, if your lack of readiness or willingness seems to put your partner off, you should break off your relationship with this person. On the other hand, if your partner is receptive and respectful of your reasoning, this is a sign that he or she’s with you for the right reasons.

Pay close attention to your partner’s behavior going forward. After initially telling your partner that you’re not ready to have sex, it’s still important to focus on your interactions with this person going forward.

In fact, there are instances when someone may seem to be totally understanding and compassionate upon hearing this news, but then later try to test your sexual boundaries during a passionate moment together. Along these lines, your partner may at first appear supportive of your needs and limits, but then may try to change your mind by telling you that if you truly cared about him or her, you’d have sex. However, in both of these instances, the irony is that if your partner actually cared about you, he or she wouldn’t be trying to push you or manipulate you in any way. Remember, having sex with someone is a serious decision, and if you’re sensing any kind of pressure from your partner, this isn’t the kind of person you should be with in any sense.