Love Doesn't Equal Sex, and Sex Doen't Equal Love

06/20/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

My boyfriend is asking to take our relationship to the next level, sexual relations, and I am not ready how do I tell him that I am not ready and to wait till I am?

Dear Not Ready,

Have you tried simply saying "I'm not ready and we need to wait"? My guess is that if you thought he would agree with you, then you would have said it already. Are you afraid to lose the relationship if you say "No."?

The fact is love does not equal sex. If it did, how could any of us love our parents, siblings, teachers, coaches or friends? Love is about mutual respect, wanting what's best for the other, even if it isn't what's best for you. Love means being willing to let go of a relationship if it isn't meeting your needs or his. Love is NOT about giving up what's best for you in order to "keep your man happy". That never works out for the woman in the long run. In fact, it usually leads to low self -worth and diminishes self-respect. If you did give in, as many girls do who are afraid of losing their boyfriends, then where is your sense of empowerment? No empowerment = No self-esteem. Healthy sexuality grows out of love, not the other way around.

Conversely, sex does not equal love. How often have your friends or other people you've known given into sex too soon simply because the guy told her that he loved her, and then ended up dumping her after sex? Sadly, this happens all the time. Everyone wants to be loved and to be told that they are loved. Someone saying it doesn't make it real. Talk is cheap and easy to do especially in the moment when passion and hormones are racing.

Now don't get me wrong, women are equally as justified as men are in wanting sex and not having to be in love to get it. The problem with that is we still live in a world of the "double standard". When a boy wants sex and then has sex, he's considered "The Man"! When a girl wants sex and has sex without being in love and having a boyfriend, she's considered "A Slut". Fortunately, this changes for women as they get older. Then sex can be about satisfying your own need for sexuality.

But until then and particularly while you are in high school and even in college, it's important that your first time be with someone who you love and who loves you back. That's what makes it safe and sexy! And the only way to truly know if he loves you back is to be honest about your emotional needs around waiting to have sex, and seeing how he responds.

If he respects you (and loves you), he'll wait until you're ready. If not, he'll leave you for someone else who is willing to have sex with him. Don't for one minute think though, that she wins. On the contrary...she becomes the "booby prize", pardon the pun- a mere substitute for you.