Dating can be hard for anyone, but for people who’ve made the choice to abstain from sex until marriage, their obstacles may be a little different. Some people struggle with when to tell a prospective partner that they have never had sex.
“Timing around disclosure is important,” licensed clinical psychologist Rebekah Montgomery, Ph.D, told INSIDER. “This isn’t something you have to share with someone unless you are seriously considering having sex with them … soon,” she continued.
“Often, people feel as though this is something they just have to get off their chest and rush to share in a way that isn’t helpful for you or your new potential love interest. You can share this intimate truth with someone when you know they are someone you feel comfortable being intimate with,” said Montgomery.
Beyond transparency about your decision to remain celibate, like any other dater, you should lay out your expectations for the relationship–whether you are dating intentionally for marriage or just for fun.
“We tend to make assumptions about dating and sex, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach, so the only way to know if you and your date are on the same page is to be open about your beliefs, plans, and expectations,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, told INSIDER.
After you’ve been forthcoming about your decisions regarding sex, don’t feel pressured to justify your choices.
“If you’ve opted to delay or abstain from sex, that’s your prerogative. You don’t have to apologize and you shouldn’t have to explain yourself — just as someone who opts to have sex at an earlier age does not need to explain or rationalize their choices,” O’Reilly recommends.
“There are many reasons you may not have had sex yet. You don’t have to over-explain it … You don’t have to justify why you’ve waited to have sex,” Montgomery added.