How I told my boyfriend I wasn’t ready to have sex

It is okay to say no...

How I told my boyfriend I wasn’t ready to have sex

My name is Zoleka. I’m 16 years old and I live in Gugulethu in Cape Town with my parents and 2 younger brothers. I’m in grade 10 and I’m still a virgin. I’m the only one in my friend group that isn’t having sex.

I have a boyfriend, Tumi, who’s in matric and we’ve been together for 8 months. Tumi wants to have sex but I’m not ready yet. My friends keep telling me that he will leave me if I don’t give him a reason to stay. Even though I am scared of losing him, I had to tell him that I was not ready to have sex.

We went out on a date at the mall on Saturday. It was a beautiful day but I couldn’t enjoy it because I was nervous about the talk Tumi and I were about to have. I was also really scared that he would leave me. The idea of not having Tumi in my life made me very sad but it was something I had to face.

After an hour of chatting and laughing, I just came out and said it. “Tumi, I want you to know that I’m not ready to have sex. I don’t know when I will be ready. I just know that it is not now.” Even though I didn’t need to, I explained in detail the reasons why I wasn’t ready to have sex. I told him that my reason for not wanting to have sex had nothing to do with church, and everything to do with the fact that I’m not ready.

“I am scared and I know that I am not emotionally ready. It takes a lot to be so vulnerable with someone in such a way and I want to be sure about our relationship and you before committing to have sex with you. I’m not prepared to deal with the admin that goes with having sex.” He just listened quietly, taking my words in and sipping on his drink.

When I was done, we were both quiet for a while. One thought crossed my mind, “This is it - he’s going to leave me.” Instead, he hugged me and told me that he respects my decision and understands where I’m coming from. He admitted that he had hoped that we would start having sex soon but that being said he agreed that we should take things at our own pace and enjoy being together. He told me he loved me and would never leave me because of sex.

I was so relieved! I was so scared that he would leave me but having this conversation showed me how much he loved me. I am even more in love with him now. We are moving at our own pace and when we are both ready to have sex we will be safe.

He showed me that the guy that’s perfect for you will respect your decisions and will love you whether you’re having sex or not!

Here is Zoleka’s advice on telling a guy you are not ready:

Don’t be afraid to speak to your partner, if he cares about you, he will understand if you don’t want to have sex.

When having the talk with him, find a quiet space where you are both comfortable to have the chat.

Have you ever had to tell your partner that you are not ready? Tell us about your chat.