Communication is important in a relationship! It doesn’t mean that you are talking with your partner 24/7. What it means is that you can have open, honest talks with your partner about everything from “how was school?” to talking about taking the next step in your relationship. You should be able to communicate with your partner honestly, without fear of the other person’s reaction, and without manipulation. People of all genders do speak the same language, but many of us make assumptions about what the other person means with their words when they are not clear. To avoid miscommunication and confusion, remember to ask questions! You might paraphrase what the other person and ask if that is what they meant. You might also practice listening well (for example, listen until they are done talking, and try to avoid thinking about what you are going to say next rather when you should be listening).
Taking your relationship to the next level
Am I ready to have sex? This is a big question. First of all, having partnered sex means that both people in the relationship agree that they are ready to engage in sex. Being intimate can mean kissing, holding hands, manual stimulation (AKA “handjobs”), and oral (“going down” on someone, “giving head,” or a “blow job”), anal, and vaginal sex. Before talking with a partner about what you both want to do, it’s important to figure out what you personally are okay with! What are your personal values? What are your school and career goals? Also, be mindful that being intimate with someone comes with emotional and physical risks. For example, the attachment you feel after being intimate, and knowing that there is a risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with sex. If you still are not sure, it might be a good idea to talk with a trusted adult about taking your relationship to the next level. Also, if you feel safe to talk with your partner, be sure to bring up condom use if you decide to have sex, your personal goals, and your values. It’s good to be on the same page! You should also be able to communicate with your partner what you are okay with (for example, holding hands, kissing, or more).