The Pre-Sex Checklist

A man and a woman kissing while in bed

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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 includes everything from whether you want to have sex to how you might want to protect yourself from STDs. That's why we've put together this handy checklist of questions to ask yourself and your partner. There's also a list of things to think about. That way you'll be ready to respond to the questions that a new partner 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 you really want to have sex with this person or are you choosing to have sex with them for some other reason? (pressure, guilt, boredom, alcohol, etc.)
  • Do you have the materials you need to have safe sex? (Condoms, dental dams, lube, etc.)
  • Is pregnancy a possible risk if you have sex with this person? What will you do if having sex with this person leads to pregnancy? If pregnancy is an unacceptable outcome, what can you do to avoid it? (Contraception, avoidance of vaginal intercourse, using the morning-after pill in the event of contraceptive failure, etc.)
  • What will you feel like if this sexual encounter leads to getting an STD?
  • Will you be happy with the decision you're making when you wake up in the morning?

Things to Ask Your Partner

These questions can help you get important information about your partner's sexual health. They can 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.

  • Are you interested in having sex? (This is the most important question you can ask. If you haven't asked, you may not really know the answer.)
  • What does our having sex mean to you? Is it a commitment? Will you continue sleeping with anyone else?
  • Is there anything you should know about your partner, that you don't already know before you have sex? 
  • Are you willing to practice safe sex? How about oral sex?
  • 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)?
  • What can I do to make this experience wonderful for both of us?

Things Your Partner Should Ask You

These are the questions that a potential partner will ideally care about. Why do you want them to be thinking about these things? The answer is simple. 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 things 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 landmines 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.

Intention Is Erotic

Want to have better sex? Have it with intention. That means having sex because you want to, with a person who is just as enthusiastic about having it with you. It means thinking about what you want to do, talking about it, and being present in the moment. It means aiming for a sexual life that is full of choices, no regrets.

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