The Pre-Sex Checklist

(c)2008 Elizabeth Boskey licensed to About.com, Inc.

Before you have sex with a new partner for the first time, there are a lot of things that it's important to think about. That's why I've put together this handy checklist of questions to ask yourself and your partner. There's also a list of things to think about so that you're ready to respond to the questions that they should be asking you.

Things to Ask Yourself

These questions can help you make certain that you're going into a situation you're enthusiastic about...

and that you won't regret later.

  • Do I really want to have sex with this person or am I choosing to have sex with them for some other reason? (pressure, guilt, boredom, alcohol, etc.)
  • Do I have the materials I need to have safe sex? (Condoms, dental dams, lube, etc.)
  • What will I do if having sex with this person leads to my getting pregnant, and, if pregnancy is an unacceptable outcome, what can I do to avoid it? (Contraception, avoidance of vaginal intercourse, using the morning-after pill in the event of a contraceptive failure, etc.)
  • What will I feel like if this sexual encounter leads to my getting an STD?
  • Will I be happy with the decision I am making when I wake up tomorrow morning?

Things to Ask Your Partner

These questions can help you get important information about your partner's sexual health, as well as frame your negotiations for safe sex. They can also help you make your sexual interactions more fun and exciting, by letting you know what your potential partner is into...

and figuring out whether you're into that too.

  • When was the last time you were screened for STDs, and what diseases were you screened for?
  • What risky behavior have you indulged in since your last test? Have you had any new sexual partners either right near the time you were tested or since then? Had they been tested? Did you always practice safe sex?
  • Are you using any form of contraception (if applicable)?
  • Are you willing to practice safe sex? How about for oral sex?
  • What does our having sex mean to you? Is it a commitment? Will you continue sleeping with anyone else?
  • Is there anything I should know about you that I don't before we have sex?
  • What can I do to make this experience wonderful for both of us?

Things Your Partner Should Ask You (...Or That You Should Tell Them)

These are the questions that a potential partner will ideally care about, because if they ask you, they've probably also asked the other people they've been sleeping with. That's a good sign for your health. However, even if they don't ask, these are thinks you should consider disclosing.

  • The last time you were screened for STDs and what diseases you were tested for.
  • How many sexual partners you have had since your last test, whether you practiced safe sex with them, and whether they had been tested before you had sex.
  • If you are currently sexually active with anyone else.
  • Any psychological land mines that they need to worry about when they're with you.
  • What having sex with them means for you - whether it's a commitment or just an evening of fun.
  • Anything they need to know to make the experience fun for both of you.

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