Becoming Lovers: When Is the Right Time?

I am in a relationship with a man in the Navy. He has been at sea for four months now, and although we have grown closer over that period of time through letters and phone calls, we were just getting to know each other when he was shipped out. We have not slept together. I deeply care about him and I know that my feelings are reciprocated. My question is, when he is shipped back home, should we sleep together? I feel that this is a relationship with serious potential and I want to prove that I am "good." -- L.

Question:

Dear L:

Thanks for this interesting question. Your circumstances are slightly unusual but your concern is common: When should you decide to break the barrier and become sexual with someone you are getting to know, like, and have "feelings" for? These are not easy questions, as there is no real rule book to follow. I suggest that you let go of your concern until you are faced with the reality of his return.

First, you may change your feelings for him after time passes and you either get to know him better, or perhaps put yourself in situations where you may meet other men. Although absence can make the heart grow fonder, it can also make the male wander -- or the female. Take your time. Be in the present and let your relationship unfold. Decide when and whether you want to cross over to be lovers once you two have more real time together.

The aspect of being "good" troubles me, as often women are given the message that waiting to become sexually involved with a lover is a sign of your virtue. Sexuality is a natural and healthy part of being human, and expressing that part of yourself is perfectly okay if you are an adult. Your sexuality belongs to you; you have the right and responsibility to choose when, how and whether to express your sexuality as an informed adult, when you are ready to do so.

If you feel unsure, then your mind, heart and/or body is giving you a signal to slow down or take the first exit off this highway. Follow your instincts. Meanwhile, enjoy this evolving friendship and feel all of your feelings. Find an outlet for your erotic feelings and stay alert for any clues about your guy. When he comes back on leave or returns for good, then take it a step at a time. Don't rush and don't pressure yourself. Be you!

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