Is the relationship over if I’m ready to have sex and he/she isn’t?


By Dan Callan

When it comes to sex, particularly in the context of a relationship, it is so important that it is treated with caution and the appropriate level of respect that it deserves. If it is not, it can have lasting and damaging effects on a person.

When a person feels like they aren’t ready to have sex with you as their partner, it is normally for a good reason and it may not be an easy stance for them to take. It could make them feel like they are letting you down, like they aren’t satisfying your needs which can lead to feelings of guilt and a sense that they are a disappointment. Therefore, it is important for you to realise this, and to explicitly communicate that it doesn’t change the way you see the person. You may need to do this more than once, but be patient, they may want constant reassurance, which may seem annoying, but is vital in a relationship to gain trust and understanding.

To you, the decision to allow more time before having sex may seem strange, but to understand it, you may have to understand your partner’s history. Previous experiences may have led to an idea of sex that is different from yours.

For example, a previous relationship may include uncomfortable memories related to sex, such as bad sexual experiences, partners cheating on them, or in severe cases, sexual abuse. If these are present, they may have built up a perception of sex that is wrong, or they don’t want to have a repeat of that situation and therefore would prefer to avoid it for the time being. All of these previous experiences mean that it will take time for that person to build up trust again and therefore, the most loving and caring thing to do is to be patient.

Another reason why your partner may not feel ready is because they are body-conscious. Self-esteem plays a massive role in a person’s willingness to have sexual intimacy with somebody, especially if certain levels of trust haven’t been established. Therefore, once again it is important to realise that establishing trust takes time and to be patient in the process, but is worth it in the end.

A final reason why your partner may choose to wait is because of their beliefs about the importance to wait before having sex. This may or may not be religious, however it could mean they don’t want to have sex before marriage. Whilst this may seem alien to you, it is within their rights to do so as it is to want to have it before. This leaves you with a choice to make. You either accept these beliefs and wait with them, or you respectfully explain that the difference in beliefs would be too much for you and break off the relationship. Just as it would be unfair for you to force them to change their beliefs, it would be unfair for them to make you conform to their beliefs if you are unwilling to do so. Above all, it’s important that you both make your feelings known. Which leads me onto my next point.

Communicate. It is so important that you make it clear to each other how you feel about the situation. It allows trust to be formed but more importantly, means you can avoid getting into an awkward situation which could harm the relationship going forward. It will allow you to understand the reasons behind your partner not wanting to have sex yet which will make waiting easier, and it is good for your partner to have peace of mind.

One of the biggest factors in how the situation will turn out is how you respond. However you feel about it, it is vital that you respond with love, kindness, and understanding. You want to build your partner up, even if you are not with them long term. Another bad experience may have more lasting effects and you don’t want to be the reason that they are affected in this area in the future. True love is accepting a person for who they are in that moment, not who you would prefer them to be.

The most important thing throughout this process is developing the trust of the other person. Trust takes time. As hard as it may be, if you really care about someone, you will respect their decision and will commit the time to developing trust between the two of you. And I promise you, it will benefit your relationship in both a non-physical and a physical way.


We know that this article includes some sensitive issues which many people have been affected by. If you would like to talk to someone, or need any advice, please visit our Get Help page.

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