When is your relationship ready for sex?

I came across a quiz in Seventeen magazine (don’t ask why I was reading it) – asking the question, “Are you ready for sex?” I was intrigued, so I took the quiz. Thankfully, the quiz determined that I was in fact ready. So how did Seventeen magazine determine that I was able and ready to take this step in my life? I was asked questions like:

–        How long have you been with your boyfriend?

–        Have you ever discussed birth control or condoms?

–        You know your guy loves you because…?

A twelve year old could have answered these questions and the quiz would have determined that they were ready to “go for it.” I think a better criteria was needed for the quiz to impart any real wisdom.

Have you ever noticed the lack of clarity around this question? It would seem like an important question to have an objective answer to. When is a relationship ready for sex? Regardless of where your opinion falls, most everyone would agree that sex has the power to bring a man and woman together in love and is a very important part of a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. At the same time, everyone could probably think of many couples who were “in love” before a sexual relationship drove them apart or created great conflict in their relationship.

The most common response to this question about sex tends to be, “it’s different for everyone. You have sex when you and your partner both feel ready.” But what does that mean? That would appear to be too subjective to give any real clarity. Biologically, your body is “ready” for sex when you reach adolescence. But that doesn’t mean that’s when you should start having sex. There is great emotional responsibility involved in entering into a sexual relationship. What happens if the relationship ends and the two people have now given of themselves in deep intimacy and now they no longer want anything to do with one another? What happens if they conceive a child and they are only teenagers? Trusting your feelings and following emotions would not appear to be the best criteria for making such an important decision. Although feelings are misleading, the responsibilities that follow sexual intimacy are very real. It would seem that sex should be reserved for two people who aren’t simply in love, but who are in a lifelong relationship and are ready to accept responsibility.

It’s not enough to be “in love.” After all, there are varying degrees of love. What if you are “deeply in love,” and you “just know” that you will be together forever? You may feel “ready” for sex, but you could fill an ocean with the tears cried by people who had sex and were deeply in love, only to find themselves separated months later.

Is there an objective criteria to answer this question? Is there a full-proof measurement to determine when you are ready to have sex? I think so, or at least, I know when I knew that I was ready.

When I loved a woman in my life so much that I could proclaim that love to her father and asked for the responsibility to care for his daughter for the rest of my life – I knew I was ready. When I loved a woman in my life so much that I could proclaim my love to her – in front of all of her friends and family and God Himself – I knew I was ready. When I could vow my entire life to a woman’s service and to the service of our future children, in good times and bad, sickness and health – I knew I was ready. My love for her had to be so strong and so devoted that it could only make sense in the context of a lifelong self-gift. I found that a commitment of our bodies to one another must be preceded by a commitment of our entire lives to one another.

How do you know if you are ready to have sex? Is there an objective criteria to answer that question? I think there is.

If you are not married, you are not ready for sex.

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everettfritzEverett Fritz works in Catholic Youth Ministry and enjoys speaking on the topics of chastity, discipleship, and youth evangelization. He is the Content Development Coordinator for YDisciple at the Augustine Institute and holds an MA in Pastoral Theology with concentrations in Catechesis and Evangelization from the Augustine Institute. He also holds a BA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Everett resides in Denver with his wife Katrina and their three children.

26 Comments

  1. You are such a blessing to the young generation! I regularly read your blogs on fb. And yes you need to read seventeen and see what kind of message / advice the youth are getting and from there give them truthful and alternative information.
    God bless your wonderful ministry and may it be a source of transformation of the young church.

    By Gillian | 3 years ago Reply
  2. i will love this page about the youth

    By john oka philip | 3 years ago Reply
  3. Really inspiring! Every time I come across these posts on fb I just have to stop and read them. Thanks 🙂

    By Angelina | 3 years ago Reply
  4. So what about all of the marriages that end in divorce? Those people were “deeply in love,” and “just knew” that they would be together forever too. What makes their relationship any more sacred?

    By Anna | 3 years ago Reply
    • It’s important to remember that a marriage takes a lot of effort to keep alive in tough times when it feels like it’s falling apart. And it’s not spread very well that a marriage will have more problems than just finances or parenting, which doesn’t help with the divorce rate.

      By Robert | 3 years ago Reply
      • Divorce is not caused by parenting or financial problems or any other earthly problems. Divorce is caused by a person choosing to please Satan instead of choosing to please God; plain and simple.

        By starling | 3 years ago Reply
    • Well, they made a public promise before God and their community to remain faithful to one another. They were, at one point, married. That’s what made it sacred, and why a sexual relationship was licit for them before they got divorced. The licitness is found in the objective fact that they were married, not in their feelings for one another.

      Divorce is also more likely if the couple has been in a sexual relationship or co habituated before getting married.
      I don’t know if this fully answers your question, and I’m truly sorry if divorce has been something you’ve faced in your past in some way. You’re in my prayers.

      By GiannaT | 3 years ago Reply
      • So the mere act of marriage imparts ones emotional readiness for sex? So two 18 year olds that decide to get married in Vegas one day after knowing each other a month and ready for sex?

        By Anna | 3 years ago Reply
        • When we say “marriage”, I think we’re talking about the Roman Catholic sacrament. I would assume that those 18 year olds in Vegas are not participating in that particular form of matrimony.

          By Al | 3 years ago Reply
          • I see, thank you. I still disagree with the overall concept but I now better understand where you are coming from.

            By Anna | 3 years ago
        • You need to be ready for marriage. The ultimate question is are we ready for marriage, not are we ready for sex.

          By Elizabeth | 3 years ago Reply
        • Why do they have quick marriages in Vegas? So ppl can feel like they are not sinning when they have sex. The fact is they are not taking marriage serious nor the true intimacy of sex.

          By joe | 3 years ago Reply
  5. Great points. Thank you for your insight, it truly is beautiful.

    By Leah | 3 years ago Reply
  6. GREAT!!!!! will be able to use your convictions as an example in the classes I teach, thank you so very much!!!!!

    By Nathalie | 3 years ago Reply
  7. WOW! I can’t wait to share this. This is dead on!

    By Hannah | 3 years ago Reply
  8. Thanks to Everett, and thanks to Anna for the hypotheticals, they help us to focus on the insight of the question. I think that the answer fits with this text that today publishes Scott Hahn in his facebook…(sorry for the lenght, but it worths it) “This is the key to the New Evangelization! Even if you can’t defend the faith, or explain every doctrine, or prove it from the Bible – what you CAN do is this: ENJOY being Catholic!!! That’s the best way to evangelize friends, family, co-workers and everybody else. Why? Because the world offers countless pleasures, but no lasting joys. What Jesus Christ gives is joy, even in the midst of hardship and sorrow. Joy is what we all want and need. JOY is something others will find irresistable -and irrefutable! And whenever we find ourselves without it, as Pope Francis reminds us, that’s a reminder that we also need to be re-evangelized, because the grace of conversion is not something that’s ‘over and done’ in the past; rather it’s ongoing, and ever-deepening, and lifelong – but never easy!”

    By Eddie Prixens | 3 years ago Reply
  9. Thank you so much for your words. They gave me hope!!

    By Giulia | 3 years ago Reply
  10. Loved it!

    By Ana | 3 years ago Reply
  11. On the contrary, there’s this guy I like so much I’m willing to have sex with him. I admit I’m foolish to make love to him in the hopes that he will eventually reciprocate my feelings. To him, it could be nothing but just sex. I’m at a loss. All I know is I want to see him every now and then. If sex is the only way to do that, I’ll do.

    By Bubbles | 3 years ago Reply
    • There’s nothing wrong with liking a guy and wanting to spend time with him! 🙂 I’ve been dating an amazing guy for 4 years!

      I believe you like him. You’d have to at least see potential for love, based on your comment. But, the question his, How do want to love him? Using sex to snare this guy won’t end happily ever after.

      You’ll let him use you, he’ll accept your free gift of yourself, then he’ll move on, or worse he’ll stay without promising forever. That opens the door to relationship limbo, where you don’t know what your relationship is. Forever? Just friends? Steady? Just for fun? Just for now? Just for a night? Booty calls? or just a mushy grey area that changes as feelings shift. Anyone willing to put you through that pain of uncertainty and self depreciation is unworthy of you.

      Sex isn’t the only way to see him “every now and then;” friendship does that too. Spending time to get to know each other will eventually lead to living the rest of your life with your best friend.

      That’s awesome that you love someone enough to want to give him everything, but true love isn’t giving sex to another, it’s laying down your life for a friend. If he doesn’t yet reciprocate your feelings, he isn’t at that point where he’d give his life for you– he isn’t ready to love you.

      Your relationship needs more time to blossom to its full potential. Be patient, and have fun dating without giving away yourself.

      Your dilemma is difficult and would put anyone at a loss. To want something so completely, yet knowing that both hearts aren’t completely behind it for better or for worse, is utterly painful. Knowing what you want and yet choosing to be the best you can be for the other (often, in spite of the other person) takes a tremendous amount of courage, strength, and maturity (simply stated, it takes a remarkable person to refuse sex and still work hard to building a beautiful intimate relationship of trust).

      I pray that God will bless you and help you in this decision you have to make.

      By Brianna | 3 years ago Reply
  12. wooow!! loved every bit of it….thanks for making ur point so clear.

    By merlin | 3 years ago Reply
  13. Absolute truth, I saved myself for marriage, have been married for 34yrs Happy ,Fullfilled ,sexually satisfied, Gods way Is safety!! Covenant marriage is the way!

    By Karen | 3 years ago Reply
  14. When I read Humane Vitae by Pope Paul VI In 1992 I was totally convinced of my role as husband and father! I was made aware of how precious my wife was! Nina and I were married for 25 years. I lost Nina August 12, 2011. She was my best friend and soulmate with Valentines Day on Friday it is a reminder of how much I miss her. Guys if you love her wait look into her eyes and see her and not body parts. Remember she is someone’s daughter, sister and future mother. Would you want anyone disrespecting your family? Always hang out in groups avoid being alone and kissing too much. Remember guys are like microwave ovens and girls are like crockpots the best thing to do is to communicate with each other and not frustrate one another. If you are Serious take a Chastity course! When you are married there are no sex Olympics , with spousal to do lists, working, grocery shopping, cub scouts, dancing , baseball practice, cooking dinner not in a drive-thru. Need I say more. Pray for your spouse! St. Therese’ showed me how to love Nina through her “Little Way”.

    By Mark Renda | 3 years ago Reply
  15. I wanted to point out that there is difference between teenagers having sex and mature consenting adults. What if I don’t get married until I’m middle aged? Not everyone meets their soulmate early in life such as high school or college. I am a twenty-something virgin. Pardon me, but I prefer to have sex while I’m still in my prime.

    By Tim | 3 years ago Reply
    • Sex is not an activity to engage in when one is ”physically fit”…..As an ultimate show of love, it is for marriage…Not having sex till you get married reserves it for your future spouse…You’re not really missing anything if you have not met your spouse yet….I pray that you’ll continue to wait…God bless you…

      By Milkah | 3 years ago Reply
  16. I believe your argument is solid. Young people who aren’t established aren’t ready to support the effects of sex, mainly a child. Also, you look like a pedophile.

    By Tim | 3 years ago Reply

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