I am very grateful that one of my followers allowed me to share both this question and the answer so that others might also potentially benefit from my response.
Message: Hello Dr. Rainford, I am a follower and reader. I appreciate the help you give to others and hope that you can help me as well. My relationship is a little over a month old and it's going really well. We go out often, see each other very often and the communication is excellent. Our parents know each other and our families are very close so there is a bit of expectation that we end up together, considering. Recently the issue of sex was brought up and we reacted a little differently. To be quite honest, I know that we will inevitably end up sleeping together based on the chemistry and such. There is mutual respect and admiration and I am confident the sexual attraction is there and we'd both enjoy it.However, because I am holding out for a little while to ensure I'm ready in case anything happens, I feel it might all end since my partner openly declared having a very healthy appetite. I am assuming this means a readiness to make our relationship sexual and to do so immediately. Should I just fall into it and enjoy the offer? (We've both been in sexual relationships before.) I don't want my partner to leave, because I have never felt this way about anyone before and I am sure I wont feel this way again for a very long time.
History has pretty much confirmed that even the best sex doesn’t make people stay in a relationship for the long haul. Whether a relationship succeeds is affected by multiple factors and while sex is an important factor for many relationships, it is certainly not the only factor or isn’t necessarily the most important factor. So if your partner leaves the relationship if you choose not to have sex before you are ready, chances are that was not the only reason.
You have mentioned that the relationship is based on mutual respect and if it is I would expect that your partner would be understanding of your decision to take it slow. Assuming you are both searching for a long-term commitment there is certainly no reason for either of you to rush.
You have also mentioned that you assumed your partner wanted to make the relationship sexual immediately but that also may not be the case.
I suggest an open and honest discussion with your partner, which should include at least some disclosure about your strong interest (although not necessarily the full extent), your desire to wait for sexual intimacy and your reasons for that desire. If your partner is as special as you think I believe he or she will be understanding and patient. However if not, consider yourself lucky for discovering this incompatibility early and although it may be painful at first, history has also shown me that the right one whenever he or she comes along, is so much better than any you may have loved and lost.