You’ve done your research, read a few Judy Blume novels and replayed your favorite sex scenes over and over again on Netflix (@Gossip Girl fans, we’re looking at you). Bottom line: you’re fully ready to lose that v-card. But before you drop your pants, let us drop some knowledge on you: whoever is going to be by your side while you’re on your side (or back, or front—whatever works for you) is going to be a significant player in your conversations about sex for the rest of your life. Whether you’ve been dating for five years or you met five minutes ago, run through these red flags to make sure you know exactly what you shouldn’t be getting into—or who shouldn’t be getting into you.
Here for a good time, not a long time
SPOILER ALERT: The possibility of your first time being zero to 100 back to zero real quick is pretty high. We’re not talking about speed of the act itself, but the speed at which your first-time lover decides to get out of your bed/tree house/high school locker room.
Moriah Raisis, a junior at Southern Methodist University, can attest to this issue well after losing her virginity to one of her first college friends. “All he wanted to do was talk about sex before we even did it, and I was in such a hurry to get it over with that I didn’t even notice,” she says. “The worst part? Afterwards, he said, ‘Hey, I don’t wanna sound rude, but… could you please leave?’”
You may be eager to throw your virginity out the door, but you probably want to make sure you’re not being thrown out right behind it. Make your expectations clear about the time you want to spend together—if you and your supposed special someone aren’t on the same page, you might want to keep those pants buttoned.
He’s just not that into you… or you’re just not that into him
Your first time can come with some serious emotional attachment. While it’s pretty hard to tell how you’re going to feel before you get between the sheets, you can usually get a good read on things by figuring out if you and your partner-in-sex feel the same way about each other.
Katie Short, a senior at SUNY Oswego, comments on deciding to hold off on losing it to her close friend who she had been hooking up with. “He started to develop feelings for me,” she says. “I told him we couldn’t continue doing what we were doing because it was disrespectful to him and would only hurt him, and after some reluctance on his part, he agreed with me to just be friends and to not continue hooking up.” Acknowledging that sex is going to hurt one of you (and not just physically) is an important, mature step in saving you from either serious guilt or serious heartbreak down the road.
You’ve told your ideal person that you’re down to get down, but, ever since then, you haven’t heard anything from him or her other than talk about doing the deed. Suddenly, your first time has become the only focus of conversation, and you feel like you need to just rip off your clothes so you can finally change the topic.
If your relationship with someone has changed just because you started talking about having sex, then it’s probably bound to change even more once you get around to it. It’s possible that this person is super excited about the possibility of kicking your physical relationship up a notch, but it’s also possible that you could be another notch on his or her belt.
Next time sex comes up in conversation, make sure you set things straight about your intentions. If getting laid is the only thing keeping you together, maybe it’s time to break apart.
Easy cum, easy go
Birds do it, bees do it, but now it seems like everyone is doing it. You’re ready to make moves with literally the next person you see, because Trojans are beyond #trending right now and you’re not trying to be stuck in last season. Pump the brakes before you put it in—love may be blind, but lust is absolutely blackout.
Rachel, a recent graduate from James Madison University, saw her friends getting busy and wanted to join in. “I thought about doing it with an older boyfriend at the time (he wasn’t a virgin), but I wasn’t 100 percent convinced and was really only thinking about it because I wanted to have sex, not because I wanted to have sex with him,” she says. “If you’re more into the idea of it than the person themselves, it probably isn’t the right person!”
FOMO and quick access to a quickie shouldn’t be the driving forces behind your first choice in bedmate. If “I was down and he was there” is the only explanation you can give, you might want to shut your legs and open your mind to some other options.
You’ve only been to first base, but it’s really good. Like, amazing good. So good, that the minute you start kissing you’re fully ready to strip. Great kissers must be great in bed, right?
Take a look at that logic. That’s like saying people who are great at simple algebra are equally outstanding at astrophysics. Or that people who can microwave Easy Mac have a shot at an Iron Chef title. Or that your Instagram getting more than 400 likes makes you the next Annie Leibovitz. Just because this person may have mastered the most basic level of physical pleasure, you shouldn’t jump to any grandiose conclusions.
Kayleen Parra-Padron, a senior at Florida International University, knows this feeling well. “My ex and I had been dating for about a month and I was literally crazy about him because he was really good at making out,” she said. “Of course, good kissers always lead to possible regrets afterwards.” And honestly, she was right. She held off on getting off and he dumped her.
We’re not trying to tell you that a good kisser is a bad choice. But just because someone has the lips of an angel, you shouldn’t be expecting some heavenly lovemaking.
Related: The Truth About Virginity in College
Your first time can be a super exciting milestone or a humorous anecdote for future parties. Needless to say, you’re not going to forget it—so make sure you’re losing it to someone who you want to remember. Good luck, collegiettes, and make good choices!