Dating and sex can be fun and exciting, but they can also be confusing. Whether you’re just starting to think about relationships or you’ve been dating someone for a while, you probably have lots of questions about things like how to show you’re interested in someone, dating, intimacy and sex.
If you have questions about dating and sex, try talking to a trusted friend or adult. And remember you can always call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 and talk to one of our counsellors.
How to show that you’re interested in someone
Attraction is difficult to explain and put into words. You might be drawn to a person for many reasons like:
- Their personality
- Their appearance
- Their sense of humour
Sometimes the attraction you feel may make you want to get to know that person better or at least express your feelings towards them. It might be a good idea to let the person you are interested in know how you feel. It’s ok to be nervous and unsure of what to do. You can:
- Start by saying “hi” and asking them how their day is going
- Talk to them about their hobbies and interests
By asking questions, you’re already giving subtle cues that you’re interested and you’re hoping to spark their interest in you. Once you have a good vibe about the person, you could ask them if they want to hang out with you sometime.
The first time you go out with someone you might want to go out as a group — invite some of their friends out to a movie, or pizza. Having others around you might help take away some of the pressure and nervousness you might feel. Here are some tips you should remember:
- When you’re ready to go out alone with the person you’re interested in, go for it, but don’t rush yourself into something you’re not ready for
- Listen to yourself and how you’re feeling about a particular situation
- Remember, the point of dating is to get to know someone better and have fun
After dating someone for a bit, you may start to want to get physically intimate with them. It is perfectly normal to feel this way.
Becoming physically and sexually intimate with someone can be scary – it means touching someone else’s body and allowing someone else to touch yours – so it’s a good idea that the other person be someone who respects you and whom you trust.
Many teens feel they have to rush through intimacy. Others might feel pressured into doing everything ‘right’. Remember: The only rule that exists about intimacy is that the people involved are comfortable and agree on what they’re doing. If you’re not sure what limits you want to draw, speak to someone you trust like friends, cousins, siblings, or a Kids Help Phone counsellor
It is difficult to escape sex – it’s on TV, the Internet, in books, movies and magazines. Sometimes it can feel like everyone except you is confident about sex.
Sex can mean different things to different people, so it’s important to ask yourself some questions before you and your partner decide to take this step in your relationship:
Signs you might not be ready?
- You feel pressured to have sex in order to show your partner you love them
- You feel pressured to have sex in order to feel cool
- You feel pressured to have sex in order to prevent your partner from leaving you
Things to think about
- Your family, religious or cultural values
- Whether you want to wait until you’re in a longterm relationship or until you’re married
- Whether you are in a relationship that is safe, respectful and loving
- Can you talk to your partner/have you talked to your partner about protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS?
- Are you able to get and use birth control?
What can happen?
- Earlier sexual interaction between a couple often involves touching someone in a sensitive area like the thigh, the stomach, the bum, and the breasts. Touching each other in those sensitive areas can excite you sexually – your heart will beat faster, you may also breathe faster and start to sweat.
- Sexual touch also causes your sexual parts to react – for guys, blood rushes to the penis and gives you an erection; for girls, blood rushes to the vagina and causes it to lubricate (or get wet).
- An erection and the lubrication of the vagina make having sex easier but that doesn’t mean that you have to have sex.
What are the risks?
- Exposure to HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted infections. You can’t tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them, so you need to protect yourself from STIs each and every time you have sex (the best way to do this is to use a latex condom).
- Pregnancy for heterosexual couples
How can we make it better?
- Both partners may be insecure about their physical appearance and their sexual performance. By getting acquainted physically and sexually with your partner, being naked in front of them for the first time will not be such a frightening experience
- Sex is a pleasurable experience that shouldn’t be rushed. You and your partner should take the time to find a comfortable pace and enjoy each other’s company
- Couples who have been with each other for a while and who have talked openly about sex are the most satisfied
- The best advice is “take it slow and go at your own pace”
Last checked: March 2010