It is all too easy to act first and think later in certain circumstances, and when it comes to deciding to sleep with someone new, that could turn out to be something you regret afterwards.
For example, taking care of your sexual health should be a top priority and if you don’t put yourself first, there is always the risk that you might end up needing to check for details of STD testing in your area.
If you love yourself first and try to ensure that you don’t take unnecessary risks when having sex with a new partner, this will ultimately mean that you will have to be prepared to ask yourself and the other person, some key questions before taking the relationship to a more physical level.
You also want to be happy that you have made the right connection with that person and that it feels right to go to bed with them at this time.
Genuine feelings of desire
A key question that you might want to ask yourself if you have any nagging doubts about having sex with someone new, is whether you would feel the same way about sleeping with them if they hadn’t made the first move.
Some of us can be influenced by what is referred to as responsive desire. It could well be that you find yourself responding to their touch or even the suggestion of sex.
Just ask yourself that if they hadn’t made that first move, would you still have wanted to go ahead, if they had stopped and it was up to you to start things going again.
Having sex just to satisfy the request or desires of someone else is not a good idea, so try to gauge that it feels right for both of you.
Trust and control
Another important issue to address when you are contemplating having sex with somebody new, is whether you feel comfortable enough with the situation to ask them to stop if you change your mind.
You also want to know that there is enough trust between you that has been established, so that they will listen to your wishes and respect your decision to stop, rather than applying some pressure to carry on.
Setting the boundaries and agenda
Sex has emotional as well as physical connotations and you need to be comfortable that you have covered some key questions and ground rules before things get too heated in the bedroom.
You want to establish confirmation about how you will be protected from unwanted pregnancy and STIs, so there has to be a conversation about using a condom and you also want to know if there are any issues relating to STDs.
It is not going to be that easy to talk to someone you are just getting to know about STDs, but you can often gauge whether there is a problem and how responsible they are, by their response to talking about taking adequate contraceptive protection.
Marathon not a sprint
Starting a new relationship often feels the other way around, where you might be consumed with good old lust and desire for each other, but for a number of perfectly valid reasons, it is often much better to cultivate a relationship rather than simply dive in at the deep end.
A good guide, would be that you might want to date for a few months, get to know each other and build a stronger connection.
If you can do this, there is every chance that you will have not only built an element of trust and openness between each other, which can only be a good thing, but you may well find that the erotic bond is noticeably stronger if you turn your relationship into a marathon and not a sprint to the bedroom.
Using the past as a guide to the present
There are many perfectly plausible explanations why a relationship might end, and it can sometimes be misleading to use the past as a guide to the present, when trying to evaluate whether your current partner might be a long-term love.
However, if your new partner has had a string of relatively short relationships, rather than ones that have lasted for a reasonable amount of time on each occasion, this could potentially be a red flag that you at least would like some valid answers on.
Your priority is always to consider your sexual health as well as your emotional wellbeing, which means getting answers to any questions you might have about previous sexual encounters.
The response you get to this gently probing, could be quite revealing in a number of ways.
Ben Sanderson works mostly with young adults in his role as a community health worker. Talking about sexual health is second nature to him but he realises a lot of people find it difficult to discuss. His informative articles on sexual health topics appear on lifestyle blogs and health blogs.