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How Can I Tell My Boyfriend to Stop if Something is Leading to Sex?

Published: March 14, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
hello, this is sort of an embarrassing question. my boyfriend and i have been together for almost seven months and i feel like we're starting to take things more "serious." i don't mean anything sexual but whenever we have sleepovers we'll sleep in the same bed and cuddle, we aren't really shy about being naked in front of each other, we've "made out" etc. my parents raised me to save sex until adulthood and i agree with that, but i think my boyfriend was raised with different morals. it hasn't happened yet, but i'm nervous about what if we start making out and then we take it another step further or something. i know he will respect my wishes, but i guess i'm just scared of ruining the moment. in short, if something seems to be leading to sex, how can i tell him to stop without ruining the moment?
Signed: How Can I Tell My Boyfriend to Stop if Something is Leading to Sex?

Dear How Can I Tell My Boyfriend to Stop if Something is Leading to Sex?,

TeenHealthFX can appreciate that your question may feel like an embarrassing one to you, but we are very glad that you asked it because we think it’s a really important question and one that we hope many of our readers will benefit from.

Your question is basically one about getting “lost in the heat of the moment.” A person may have certain beliefs about being sexually active and may have made certain decisions about when they want to become sexually active. But all of those well-thought out decisions can suddenly seem to get lost in the heat of the moment – for example, lying naked in bed cuddling and then having various emotions and sexual urges start to take over that lead to something more.

FX thinks that the first thing you need to think about is how important it is for you to wait to have sex. If it is important to you then FX would like you to consider how risky it is for the two of you to be lying naked in bed together. As special and wonderful as it may feel, it most definitely does have the potential to lead to something more. And you need to decide whether you want to take that risk or you need to put certain rules in place like not sharing a bed or that clothes have to stay on. This needs to be something for you to think about and decide on. Then it is something that needs to be discussed between you and your boyfriend (NOT while you are cuddling in bed) so that you are both on the same page and so that BOTH of you are making decisions in the moment that will not jeopardize any of your more long-term goals about being physically intimate. You could say something to your boyfriend like, “You mean a lot to me and it feels really great being close to you and cuddling. But it is really important to me that I wait until I’m older to have sex and I think we’re risking getting caught up in the moment by lying in bed naked together. So I think we need to keep our clothes on from now on and I need to make sure you know how I feel about this so you know what to expect when we are cuddling.”

FX would also suggest that you have a plan in place for that “just-in-case” moment. While the best thing to do would be to make decisions that prevent you from heading down a path you are not ready for, it is a good idea to be prepared so you are not suddenly in a situation where you are dealing with a potential unwanted pregnancy or transmission of STDs because you did get caught up in a moment you were not at all ready for. That said, FX would like to encourage you to speak to your doctor about safer sex precautions for the future. Doctors generally recommend that teens and young adults who choose to be sexually active use condoms each and every time they have sex to protect against unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of STDs, as well as a back-up method of birth control such as the pill or birth control shot. Your doctor can make the best recommendations for you and discuss with you how to use properly use birth control to maximize its effectiveness.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. A Planned Parenthood health center is a good option if you have concerns about cost or confidentiality issues. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

FX also suggests that you and your boyfriend check out the links in our Resource of the Month: Planned Parenthood Resources on Safer Sex so that you can learn about sexual readiness, how pregnancy happens, pregnancy tests, emergency contraception, birth control, STDs and more. The more educated you are about these topics, the more likely you will make healthy decisions for yourself when it comes to your sexual health.

If you have any other questions or concerns about this, FX suggests you speak to a parent/guardian, school nurse, school counselor, parent of a friend or any other trusted adult who can provide you with the guidance and support you need.

FX can appreciate that there is a part of you that may find it hard to wait to have sex given the feelings you have for your boyfriend and how comfortable you feel with him. But if it is truly important for you to wait, then FX thinks you need to remind yourself of why it matters to you and what it would mean if you didn’t wait, and then make decisions that will help to ensure you are able to wait until a time when you feel ready, comfortable and good about your decision to be that physically intimate with someone else.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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