Deciding about Sexual Behaviors
1. Identify the variety of factors that help determine whether or not a person is ready for intercourse.
2. Discuss and evaluate factors that define readiness for sexual behaviors, including intercourse.
3. Recognize signs of readiness in a couple’s relationship.
Young people often ask for assistance in knowing “when is the right time” for sex. They may ask a friend, a parent, a teacher, or another relative or adult how old they were when they first began having sexual intercourse. Abstinence-only programs tell teens when they’re supposed to be “ready” – when they’re married. However, the reality is that, on average, young people in the United States begin having intercourse eight to ten years before they get married. Rather than looking for a magical age, teens need opportunities to assess the many factors associated with readiness for sexual behaviors, and to decide for themselves what conditions would indicate whether or not they are ready.