Contributed by Elise R.

The debate about when you should start sleeping with someone is still alive.  The going standard is the third date, but the golden rule is when you feel comfortable enough to do so. Many people break this “rule” and sleep with someone before they or the relationship are ready.  How can you tell if you are ready to have sex? Here are some thoughts to consider especially if you are interested in a long-term relationship.

They have a partner. If the person is married or in a serious relationship, it is best to cut any romantic ties. Do you want to destroy someone else’s relationship? Are you sure they will leave their partner for you? If they cheat on their partner now, how easy will it be for them to cheat on you?

You or your partner just got out of a relationship. In the aftermath of a break-up, one typical reaction is to look for affirmation from someone new. While having rebound sex can be helpful, it can also be harmful. You might feel used and rebounds rarely result in the long-term relationship you may be looking for.

You’ve been drinking. Drinking makes lots of things seem like a good idea at the time.  Drinking can lead to sex before you are ready or sex without a condom. Keep your drinking to a controllable amount so you can stay in control.

You feel bad about yourself.  Sex can feel like a confirmation of your attractiveness and desirability but the desperation of being wanted can be spotted a mile away.  As a result, your lover may see you as a one-night stand when that is the last thing that’s on your mind.

You’re not that into them.  Maybe they are nice, kind and funny but you are just not that into them.  Sleeping with them may seem like a good idea to see if it will arouse romantic feelings but they usually don’t or sexual intimacy may lead you to think a real relationship is forming when it clearly isn’t in your heart. Letting them go might be the best action to take.

What other reasons signal that it might not be a good idea to have sex too soon? We invite you to share your thoughts in the comment box below.