“Sexual assault is defined as ‘any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will, or any non-consensual sexual touching of a person. This includes rape (such as forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration or drug facilitated sexual assault), groping, forced kissing, child sexual abuse, or the torture of the victim in a sexual manner.’ If you feel he complied with your wishes, acknowledged your discomfort, and respected your decision to abstain going forward, I personally would not consider it assault, unless you feel you went into the situation unwillingly or that he had to talk you into it. If he continually pressures you or begins to coerce you into sexual activity, you might think about letting him go.
As far as ‘being ready,’ I’ve found that you will know when the time is right. It’s something the two of you might talk about for a while, or you may feel it in the heat of the moment. Feeling respected and safe is the key factor for me. Nerves are normal, and it’s good that you are feeling happy and respected afterward. It sounds like the two of you have some good communication going on, and that is a very positive position to be in. If you’re still wondering if it’s the right time, chances are, it’s not just yet, and that’s ok! There is a ‘ready’ time for everything. You two will find yours!" - Nikki
“Knowing when you’re ready to have sex is different for every person. It sounds like you and your boyfriend are slowly exploring a more physical relationship. As long as you are both fine with what happens and respect each other’s boundaries, then I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Make sure that you are both ready - physically, by having protection handy, and, mentally, by talking to each other about how you feel, what you want, how much of it, and when." - Jennifer
“I knew when it was right. I wondered about it, we talked about it, and I waited, and one morning I just sort of realized I was ready. I felt very calm, and kind of pleased, to realize that I loved that guy (my first boyfriend ever, I have had some crappy boyfriends and even a crappy husband since then), and that he loved me and we trusted each other.
So I had a really sweet experience, losing my virginity, we were certainly both nervous and it took a couple of attempts even though we were pretty familiar with each other’s bodies by then but we shared a sense of humor and I’ve never regretted it because we felt like we were equals. I decided to do it, I wanted (yeah I really, really wanted) to have sex with him.
I think this is a pretty rare first-time experience, though, like a Fairy Tale or something but I offer it as a positive example because too few people remember their first times as awesome and I wish it for everyone. I remember being briefly embarrassed over the course of our 2 years together by, like, accidental farts and clumsiness and stuff, which happens, but I never experienced shame or regret in that relationship.
I don’t feel like I have enough info to speak to your question about assault, but if you’re not comfortable having sex with your boyfriend, if it feels dirty or not right, then you might not be ready. You can and should give yourself time to get there. A good guy will give you that time. It could take a month or years or it could take being with someone else, or practicing enjoying your own body alone first. Being ready doesn’t mean “giving in,” it should mean “wanting it.” If your boyfriend doesn’t respect your body and boundaries, he might not be the guy who deserves your V card." - Anonymous
“Whether or not it’s sexual assault, if you don’t feel okay, it’s all right to not feel okay. It doesn’t matter if he meant to hurt you or not — if you feel crappy, your feelings about it are totally valid.
I second everyone else with readiness. If you feel good about something happening, go for it. If you don’t, wait as long as you need. You’re under no obligation to anyone else to feel ready in a certain time frame — or ever at all, if the person’s not right." - Sarah
"Sexual assault is defined by a lack of consent. In the US, the exact laws about this differ from state to state but the constant is consent. If you did not want to do these things with your boyfriend in the first few weeks of your relationship but felt pressured or coerced into it—it might not be sexual assault by US law, but it’s still fucking uncool if your boyfriend is pressuring you into anything. You said ‘whenever I did these things’ (meaning it happened multiple times) but he ‘apologized and never did it again’ (meaning he did it you multiple times)? Are you saying you felt it was unclean and dirty after one of these times with your boyfriend, or you stopped him before it happened? I’m not sure I have enough to determine what is and isn’t sexual assault from what you’ve told us, but I do want you to know that coercion is not consent. If you did not want to do any of these things with him, (even if you didn’t say no or stop out loud), then your consent was not given. You will know when you’re ready, sweetie. Your body will feel ready. You will want it. Wait as long as it feels right, and don’t trust anyone who tries to convince you otherwise. Be safe.” - Leah
“Talk to your boyfriend. Tell him how you feel and see what he says. It’s important to be able to communicate about your body and his body and your relationship. If it feels strange at first, practice saying the words until you can make yourself clear. 'This is how I want to be touched. This is what I'm okay with.' You get to set those boundaries. Listen to these other women; they are wise in learning the self and understanding what you want, and when you figure that out, you draw those lines. There's no standard in a relationship. No rules but the ones you make. You get to decide what happens to your body.
But is it okay if we talk about the ‘unclean and dirty’ feeling? Do you feel like something is dirty because you were pressured… or because you have the idea that sex is dirty, or that you’re dirty? Because your body is not unclean or dirty. If you do enjoy something, that’s not dirty, either. When you decide you want to have sex, that is you making a choice with your body and that is okay. Love your body, please; it can do so many wonderful things for you, and sex can be part of that. You are not dirty. You are not unclean. No informed choices you make about your body and your sexuality are dirty, either. Please don’t let anyone tell you there’s anything dirty about your body." - Alisha