For any body starting a relationship, there is such a lot of pressure to get (or to not get) physically intimate. This is not just for young adults starting off in their first relationship, though of course that is specifically more challenging, but also for others. Think of people starting a new relationship after a break-up, or after the loss of a long-term partner. Think of people with disabilities or other challenges.
It can be a challenge for anybody
Often, we hear scary stories of the effects that getting into it without full readiness can have, including damaging one's sexual expression, changing how one feels about themselves, or as simple and yet devastating as changing the relationship dynamics. Of course, when you are ready for it and take this step, it can be a beautiful and life-enriching experience.
So, how does one really know when to take this big step?
You should ask yourself questions like - Why do I want to get physically intimate? Is it because of peer pressure? Is my partner forcing me? Do I know the person well? Why with this person?
The most important thing is to listen to yourself, and trust yourself.
At any time, if the answer to any of the above questions is tentative or unsure, then perhaps wait a bit, and strengthen the relationship. Take the time to really know yourself and prepare, both emotionally and in other ways, including educating yourself on safety and being sure that you are in a comfort zone.
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.